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7 Strategies Your Wellness Program Shouldn’t Snooze on This Sleep Awareness Week

In the hustle and bustle of today’s fast-paced work environment, sleep can often take a backseat on the list of daily priorities. But no one should underestimate the power of a good night’s rest. Getting sufficient sleep each night can contribute to mood improvements, heart health, cognitive function, and overall wellness, which is why employees must achieve healthy sleep patterns.

It’s also why the National Sleep Foundation holds Sleep Awareness Week each spring. This year, March 10-16, 2024, National Sleep Awareness Week falls just after daylight savings time—the perfect opportunity to help employees wake up to the importance of quality sleep.

But why dedicate a whole week to this one aspect of wellness?

The Significance of Sleep Awareness Week

Whether it’s sleep apnea, insomnia, or poor bedtime habits, many of us wake up feeling tired or unrested in the morning. In fact, over 43% of employees are sleep-deprived. Not only does this increase fatigue and the likelihood of mistakes and errors in the workplace, but insufficient sleep has also been linked to mental health problems like depression.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 65% of people who are dissatisfied with their sleep quality experience higher levels of depressive symptoms. At the same time, adults who slept less than seven hours each night were three times more likely to report moderate to severe symptoms.

In other words, good sleep is a necessity for employee wellness. So how can employers help their teams develop healthier sleep habits this spring?


7 Strategies To Help Employees Achieve Their Best Slept Self

Here are seven strategies to help ensure employees receive a full eight hours of restful sleep each night:

1. Launch a Sleep Education Campaign

Start the week off right by focusing on sleep awareness. Communicate the science behind sleep and its impact on health through informative materials like infographics, videos, and articles on the topic. Providing this strong foundation of education is crucial as it helps employees reflect on their sleep habits, understand a problem they’ve been having, identify solutions, and engage with the rest of the campaign initiatives on a deeper level.

2. Set Sleep Challenges Throughout the Month

As part of the broader Sleep Awareness Week campaign, employers can develop various “sleep challenges,” to infuse a bit of friendly competition. For example, employees can use apps to track and compare sleep quality, duration, and consistency, or they might challenge themselves to avoid screens for an hour before bed to see the impact it has on rest. The goal should be to make measurable improvements and have fun, all while driving home the point that quality sleep is vital to overall health.

3. Test Out Flexible Work Schedules

Workplace flexibility can be a game-changer for employees struggling to balance professional and personal demands with adequate sleep. Try allowing staff to adjust when and how they work for the week. Not only does flexibility enable individuals to work when they feel most alert and rested, but it also shows a commitment to employee wellness. 

4. Create Relaxation and Nap Zones

While some might scoff at the idea at first, researchers at Johns Hopkins found a 30-90-minute nap after lunch improved cognitive performance. Designated relaxation zones or napping areas provide a sanctuary for employees to recharge, especially after lunch when energy levels tend to dip. Implementing these zones can also accommodate a diverse array of employee needs, allowing everyone to maintain peak performance throughout the day.

5. Encourage Exercise and Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is a pillar of good sleep health, and it can even improve the quality of rest for patients with insomnia. Of course, employers can encourage staff to work out on their own time, but bringing fitness into the workplace can be a powerful motivator. Whether it’s a short walking break or group fitness sessions, company-wide initiatives encourage participation, motivate employees to be more active, and further enhance sleep quality.

6. Review and Adjust Meeting Schedules

This is especially crucial for companies with asynchronous workforces. When employees’ time zones and schedules don’t line up, it can mean people are pressured to take late-night or early-morning meetings. Minimizing work-related communications outside of working hours can also help employees wind down more effectively in the evenings, promoting better sleep. Employers should review and adjust their schedules to avoid booking these time slots whenever possible.

7. Provide Resources and Support on Sleep Health

Finally, don’t leave employees empty-handed and expect them to get better sleep. They should receive in-depth resources and support on sleep health, including everything from educational materials and access to sleep specialists, to mindfulness and stress reduction techniques. Sleep health workshops can be another great resource, not only educating employees on proper hygiene and practices but also providing a foundation for health habits moving forward.

Discover How Sleep Fits Into a Holistic Wellness Program

Curious how sleep health fits into the broader picture of holistic wellness? WellRight can help you unlock the full potential of your workforce with a comprehensive wellness program. Enhance employee wellbeing and foster a more engaged and healthy workforce.

Request a demo today. 

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