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08/06/11 SleepWELL Workshop

If you are considering the impact of health and wellbeing initiatives on your workforce, then look no further for one subject that will be high up on your employees radar in terms of their health and wellbeing:  Sleep.

According to The Loughborough University Sleep Research Centre:

Apart from causing ‘sleepiness’, sleep loss particularly affects the more subtle forms of human behaviour known as higher ‘executive’ function, largely controlled by the prefrontal cortex – a brain region at its most advanced in humans. It is the hardest working part of the cortex during wakefulness – which may be why it seems so vulnerable to sleep loss. Here, sleep loss effects include:

  • rigid thinking,
  • reduced verbal fluency
  • perseveration
  • impaired working memory
  • inability to deal with novelty and the unexpected, and
  • less inhibited social behaviour.

Interestingly, unlike ‘sleepiness’ these deficits show much less of a 24 hour circadian rhythm, but steadily worsen with sleep deprivation. Contemporary ’24/7′ society requires many people to work with sleep loss, whether this be through shift-work, long working hours or simply from late night socialising.

Maybe this is familiar to you to?  Insomnia, it seems, is a common problem.  New research suggests that 26 per cent of those who work in excess of 48 hours a week are sleeping for less than six hours a night.  Benjamin Franklin may have claimed that ‘fatigue was the best pillow’, but the longer the working day, the worse a person’s sleep becomes, in length and quality.

These are the first findings of the Understanding Society study tracking 100,000 people in 40,000 British households. It says that while exhaustion may set in after a week of nine-hour days at the office, the chances of restorative sleep become increasingly elusive. One in ten men (11 per cent) and one in seven women (14 per cent) working 48 hours a week now sleeps less than six hours a night – two hours less than the recommended amount.

Sleep deprivation has many negative health effects, including obesity, hypertension and diabetes. It has been attributed to raising the chances of a woman getting breast cancer by as much as 60 per cent, because melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain during sleep to regulate the body’s internal clock, plays a key role in preventing breast tumours by suppressing the amount of oestrogen that is released.

Lack of sleep can affect your company’s bottom line, research claims that  the sleep deficit also contributes to productivity slumps, caused by sickness absence and accidents. The current sleep shortfall is estimated to cost employers eight million sick days a year, compared with just over three million in 2008.

It seems the issue here is work life balance.  If we can encourage employees to have an enjoyable life outside of work then we will find the reduced hours they are at work will be more productive and focussed, why?  Because this will lead to healthy sleep.  Okay, this isn’t the only thing we have up our sleeve, we cover many aspects of sleep in our interactive workshop:



By the end of the workshop delegates will have a good understanding of why we sleep, what is normal, the miriad of sleep problems and some solutions, the workshop is interactive and will have you wide awake with ideas for your new sleep routine… and a dreamy bag of tricks and tips for those difficult nights – no more counting sheep!

If you would like to book our 90 minute workshop for your employees, please get in touch.