NASA, Google and Samsung are among the big global brands who have incorporated sleep into the working day. If there are benefits to be had for having a nap on the job, should more of us be looking to follow in their footsteps?
The facts and figures
- 54% of UK employees are unable to stay awake during the day (Loughborough University & Dreams)
- 25% of UK employees say sleep problems get in the way of their work (Loughborough University & Dreams)
- An average of 2 sick days per year are being taken to catch up on sleep (Loughborough University & Dreams)
- Sleep deprivation is causing a loss of 200,000 working days a year in the UK (Rand)
- If those UK employees getting less than 6 hours sleep could start getting 7-8 hours a night, it could boost the economy by nearly £25billion.
Signs you or your workforce aren’t snoozing enough
You probably don’t need a blog post to confirm that you’ve had a terrible night’s sleep. The dark circles under your eyes and irritation with anybody breathing too loudly are tell-tale signs.
However, if you or your employees are serial sleep-dodgers, running on empty might have just become a normality you’re now accustomed to. If this is the case, look out for any of the following red flags:
- Silly mistakes being made and human error at a high
- Irritability, confrontation or poor communication between colleagues
- An increase in absences
- Low productivity and a dip in the quality of work being produced
- Low motivation, mood and morale
- Poor memory or retention of information and instructions
- Bad diets reliant on caffeine and sugar
Sound familiar? It might be time to make sleep part of the day job.
Accommodating sleep during the working day
Zero-gravity nap pods and immersive sleep tanks might be a tad too extreme for the standard small business workplace.
That said, sleeping has a big impact on productivity and the economy. Perhaps it’s time UK employers take steps to improve the nation’s sleep, especially seeing as money worries, workload and stress levels are often to blame for restless nights.
Here are a few things you could be doing if incorporating some shut-eye into the working day seems like something you or your colleagues might benefit from:
- Permitting flexible working hours
- Creating a quiet, private area in the workplace where ‘power naps’ can be taken
- Enable staff to break lunch hours up into 2-3 shorter bursts of rejuvenation so they don’t have to choose between eating and resting
- Allow staff to work from home when they are particularly exhausted
- Be transparent and approachable to end the stigma around feeling sleepy
How to practice sleep hygiene at home
Of course, it’s not all down to the business owner or employer – every individual needs to be accountable for getting enough sleep.
Our top tips for cleansing your sleep routine back at the ranch:
- Keep the bedroom for nothing but sleep so your mind knows when to shut down
- Avoid using any technology 1-2 hours before you plan to go to sleep
- Exercise a few times a week to exert energy more healthily
- Implement yoga or meditation into your weekly routine
- Avoid drinking any caffeine a good few hours before sleep
- Don’t eat too much or drink alcohol too close to bedtime
- Try and go to sleep at similar times each night so your body clock knows when to kick in
Do you have some tips of your own that you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below or come and join the conversation over on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.