How would you rate your company’s sleep culture? Do they have clear boundaries of work and personal time? Do they encourage self-care? Is there a high rate of burn out?
Sleep doesn’t get talked about much in companies except possibly everyone gathered around the coffee pot saying how tired they are.
Forward thinking companies are starting to recognize sleep as an asset and that it can give them a competitive advantage over their competitors. A well rested workforce is going to be better at solving problems, handle stressful situations better, and have fewer accidents and mistakes.
If you are an owner or a person in charge of culture within the organization here are some ways you can encourage a better sleep culture.
6 Ways to improve corporate sleep culture
1). Set an example – Encourage your upper level management to talk openly about sleep and the importance of it. If they put an importance on sleep and how they are prioritizing it, employees will feel more comfortable with prioritizing their own sleep. Avoid talking about how sleep is a waste of time, pointless,or for the lazy.
2). Set communication cut off times – One of the biggest barriers to employees from getting quality sleep is that they feel like they always have to be on call. How are they supposed to relax and unwind for sleep when they are getting phone calls or emails at 11pm? Institute a company wide policy for communications.
3). Sun breaks – It wasn’t long ago it was required to allow people smoke breaks. I am championing that you allow sun breaks. This is simply giving employees the opportunity to take a 15 minute break outside. Offices are filled with dim artificial light compared to the sun. Bright light is required to sync a person’s circadian rhythm and to strengthen the circadian response. This means their body will be ready for sleep when night time comes.
4). Flex time – Your workers are a diverse group and within that diverse group each person has their own chronotype. Chronotype is a person’s preferred wake/sleep pattern. You may recognize this when they talk about larks or night owls. If you have an employee that is a night owl and you are requiring them to be at the office at 7am, their body is still half asleep and they are missing out on important REM sleep. By allowing your employees to work flex time around their chronotype they can be more efficient and productive.
5). Nap rooms – If you have the space, think about installing a nap room. Power naps have been shown to improve creativity, alertness, and productivity. An espresso machine in the break room is great, but all it’s doing is prolonging the arrival of sleep. A quick 20 minute nap actually recharges the body.
6). Sleep program/education – Incorporate into your wellness programs or hire a 3rd party company to educate your employees on how to improve their sleep quality. Taking it a step farther is to have sleep coaches available to your employees that are battling insomnia.
Sleep education can be a catalyst to all the other health initiatives you are undertaking with your wellness programs. With better sleep people have more energy to workout and have less cravings for junk food.
Build Better Sleep offers a sleep education program that combines a self-paced program and access to a sleep coach.
My name is Jason Piper, founder of Build Better Sleep. I help business professionals to rebuild their sleep so they can stay at the top of their game.