Have you ever had that frantic feeling when you realize your phone is about to die and that sense of helplessness the moment it does? If you don’t have a charger handy you do everything in your power to conserve those last percentage points of battery life. You swear it will never happen again and make it a habit to plug it in to your charger, computer, or car. You do this because your phone or “mobile device” is incredibly ineffective if isn’t charged properly.
Well that pretty much sums up the way the human brain functions. Sleep is the brain’s battery charger. When we don’t get enough sleep it manifests in a lot of negative ways in our lives and in our workplaces.
In 2011 the World Association of Sleep Medicine, comprising doctors from around the world conducted a study on just how much a lack of sleep impacts us. Here are a few of their findings:
- A person who has not slept for 20 hours has a level of impairment equal to someone with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 per cent, over the limit of 0.05, at which a driver is considered legally impaired in Ontario.
- A non-typical sleep schedule from shift work disturbs the body’s natural pattern of rest and rejuvenation, which can lead to physical and mental problems, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, asthma, diabetes and depression.
- Chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and other medical conditions. The amount of sleep and the quality of sleep have been shown to affect appetite, weight control and the effectiveness of diets for weight loss.
Raise your hand if you have a workplace that yearns for a staff made up of depressed, overweight, asthmatics who may be displaying the symptoms of intoxication. I don’t envision a lot of hands.
Where to start?
If you are looking for quick and easy ideas that can help improve sleep habits among your staff here are 3 possibilities:
- Promote caffeine alternatives – caffeine is a stimulant. It is not easy to give up our double doubles or lattes but a good place to start is by stocking caffeine alternatives in the lunch room.
- Start a walking club. Fresh air and physical activity, even something as simple as walking stimulates blood flow and brain activity which are key to effective sleeping.
- If your staff works shifts, structure rotating shift work so that it allows employees to adjust easily. The body more easily and naturally adjusts to a schedule that rotates clockwise. I.e. Day, Evening, Night, Morning, Day, etc. A counter clockwise rotation or random pattern is much harder on the human body.
Where to go from there?
“Innovative employers are increasingly promoting work-life balance.” says Dr. Lisa Weeks, a Toronto area naturopath working with head offices and corporations on how to properly incorporate healthy living into the workplace. “It’s not just about offering a benefits plan, it is about providing meaningful tools to employees that foster healthy habits.”
Tools like the Power of Sleeping Well workshop which Dr. Weeks has conducted in the past for a major home and auto insurer. This workshop uncovers the importance of sleep, the causes of insomnia and ten healthy sleep etiquette tips to get the best night’s rest possible.
Refreshed, recharged, and rejuvenated employees help develop a healthy workplace and a healthy bottom line. If you feel that your organization can benefit from a workplace review and creative ideas, please contact us to discuss ways to improve health in your workplace.
Propath Insurance Solutions Inc.
With special thanks to contributor Dr. Lisa Weeks.
Dr. Lisa Weeks, Naturopathic Doctor has her general family practice at Danforth and Donlands in Toronto. Her goal is to guide patients on their healing journey so that they can live life to their fullest potential.
She is the corporate Naturopathic Doctor for TELUS and enjoys conducting health seminars, webinars and workshops for various corporations.
Her website is: www.drlisaweeks.com