The Link between Sleep and Employee Productivity

Sleep deprivation has implications on individual health, agility, cognition, and workplace performance. Sleep and employee productivity are related in a very tangible way. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that close to two in three American adults do not sleep adequately and regularly. This jeopardizes their overall health and makes them less productive, more error-prone, and susceptible to a higher risk of injury in the workplace. According to research, the resultant workplace errors and injuries cost employers hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

Considering our present circumstance as a people bedeviled with a pandemic, it is high time we promoted the importance of sleep for improved productivity and increased efficiency at the workplace.

Understanding the Facts about Sleep

The workplace is an environment filled with high cognitive and physical stress. Just as a machine needs to rest after long hours of working, it is required for the brain and limbs to rest. Health professionals recommend that adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. However, this is practically non-existent among Americans. This has resulted in situations where employers grapple with employee-related challenges of higher absenteeism, lower motivation, and reduced productivity.

According to the Rand Corporation Report of 2016, insufficient sleep costs the American economy $411 billion in missed workdays and reduced productivity annually. The inference of the report claimed that if all employees sleeping less than six hours begin to sleep for at least six hours a day, they will contribute an estimated $226.4 billion as a stimulus to the American economy.

The Connection Between Sleep and Productivity

How well we sleep plays a big role in determining our cognitive performance and capability. When you sleep less than six hours, you experience reduced capacity for critical thinking, concentration, judgment, accuracy, memory, and creativity. We become prone to errors and risks that can result in real damage when we do not sleep well. Sleep deprivation has been connected to catastrophic events like the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the Challenger explosion.

What Employers Should Do

Where appropriate, employers should consider flexible work schedules that offer employees a tiny boost in sleep duration and quality. For instance, after-hours communications should be limited to only truly urgent matters. Workers’ late-night screen time can be reduced. Napping rooms or sleep pods can be provided for employees who work long hours. The CDC also recommends brighter lighting, lower temperatures, and continued music playback to guard against drowsiness and increases chances of alertness and activeness in sleep-deprived person. These strategies will help promote a workplace culture of healthy sleep and may improve employees’ ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Additionally, employers could incorporate sleep education into their workplace wellness programs. Workplace wellness programs are an excellent place to start. This can help managers better identify signs of fatigue in their employees and prevent fatigue-related accidents and errors. Sleep education could also raise employees’ awareness level to seek professional care for potential sleep disorders that may be making them unable to get a full night’s sleep.

What About Sleep Disorders?

Some sleep disorders like sleep apnea require therapy.  Physicians would likely recommend therapeutic sleep devices and cognitive behavioral therapy for respiratory-related sleep problems and anxiety-related sleep disorders, respectively. Physicians will usually determine the best therapy for each person.

Incorporating strategies to promote employees’ sleep health will improve overall workplace performance. These strategies are effective in increasing employees’ productivity at the workplace. Would you like to learn more about nonprofit survival strategies during the pandemic? Contact the experts at Colorado Nonprofit Insurance Agency, part of HUB International in Denver, Colorado at 303-894-0298. We will help you find the right coverage for your needs.