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The Importance of Sleep for Your Employees

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On the first Sunday in November, millions of Americans turned their clocks back one hour to mark the end of Daylight Saving Time, an annual practice actually rooted in transportation. Even though we “gained” an hour in the fall, the disruption to our sleep pattern can cause issues, and with 50 to 70 million U.S. adults already having sleep or wakefulness disorders, there will be many sleep-deprived individuals!

Sleep is extremely vital for health and well-being, including helping your brain work properly. Not getting enough sleep may lead to difficulty in decision making and solving problems, trouble controlling your emotions and behavior, and problems coping with change. Sleep deficiency has been linked to such health issues as increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Those known with sleep disorders may experience depression, suicidal thoughts and risk-taking behaviors. All that just by not getting enough ZZZZZZ’s!

Thinking about workplace safety and productivity, one study found insomnia causes the equivalent of 11.3 lost days of productivity every year. This amounts to more than $63 billion in lost productivity across the nation each year.

Having well rested employees has been shown to have many benefits:
• Limits procrastination – sleep deprivation directly impairs employees’ ability to maintain focus and make decisions
• Improves creativity and problem solving – lack of sleep can impair cognitive skills, including creative thinking and the ability to problem solve
• Enhances work performance – getting enough sleep has been linked to higher-level brain functions that help with memory, impulse control and retaining new information
• Increases workplace safety – sleepy employees are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents
• Reduces absenteeism – chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a variety of health issues, which then leads to employees taking days off
• Boosts morale – not getting enough sleep causes most people to be irritable, and on the other hand, those employees getting those crucial hours of sleep every night enjoy better mental and emotional well-being.

What can you do as an employer to help maintain better sleep throughout your workforce? Ensuring your employees are not being overworked, offering flexible work schedules, instructing employees to not check email or do work in the evenings, encouraging employees to take vacations and self-care days, and providing employee training on the importance of sleep.

Getting enough sleep helps your employees perform their best in every role and every aspect of the workplace! Well rested employees make happier and more productive workforce!

Mr. Griffith has a received his bachelors degree in Environmental Health from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and president of Workplace Safety & Health Company. He has over 35 years of industrial hygiene, safety, loss control and consulting experience. Chemical monitoring, noise measurement, program development and management, risk assessment and computer management of health and safety data are areas of particular strength. Mr. Griffith is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) at the local and national level. He is also active in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

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