How Can Good Quality Sleep Promote Employee Productivity And Engagement?
When work begins to pile up and employees struggle to meet conflicting demands in their professional and personal lives, the one area that can suffer the most, is sleep. A Gallup poll indicates that the average American sleeps less than seven hours per night, compared to around nine hours in the early 1900s. This trend has many negative effects on one’s health, increasing the risk of depression, ADHD, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and other conditions. Research also indicates that it affects academic and work performance, by affecting mood and motivation – two important factors behind every successful team. If you run a business or you are an employee who is suffering from sleep deprivation, these studies will hopefully encourage you to make quality sleep a greater priority.
Sleep is linked to mood
Being a team player and working harmoniously alongside co-workers can be very difficult if you are sleep deprived. Studies have shown that even a few missed hours can have a big effect on your mood and the way you relate to others. One study undertaken by University of Pennsylvania researchers found that people who slept only 4.5 hours a night for a week reported feeling angrier, fatigued, sad, and stressed. However, when they began sleeping regular hours, they enjoyed a dramatic boost in mood. Chronic insomnia also affects an employee’s ability to feel enthusiastic about what they are doing, increasing their risk of mood disorders such as anxiety or depression.
Alertness at work
It is hard to feel passionate about the work one is carrying out when one feels ‘brain fog’, which is one of the most common effects of failing to get enough sleep. A Sleep in America poll found that 29% of people surveyed reported having fallen asleep or having felt very sleepy in the previous month, while 12% said they had arrived late for work because of sleepiness. The report showed that those faring worst were workers with irregular shifts, or those who were working various jobs.
What can you do to enhance your sleep quality?
Routine is everything when it comes to ensuring you get the correct amount of zzzs per night. Try to establish a wind-down routine in the hours leading up to bedtime. Avoid using gadgets (which boosts alertness), opting for progressive muscle relaxation or meditation in the late afternoon or evening. Avoid stimulants such as coffee in the afternoon, opting for herbal teas such as chamomile instead. Another great natural sleep booster are essential oils. Studies have shown that lavender essential oil has a natural calming effect, while orange essential oil, despite being a citric oil (commonly used to increase vitality and improve mood) relaxes the body. Additional essential oils to look into include vetiver, Roman chamomile, valor, and valerian.
Comfort is key
The design of your bedroom involves so much more than appearance. It should be conducive to sleep, meaning that you might consider removing televisions and other distractions. Your mattress is also important; you need to pick a different level of firmness depending on your sleeping position. Consider a quality mattress a big investment in your health, and don’t use the same one for longer than around 10 years. Finally, consider using an app like Calm, the Apple award-winner that provides a plethora of different exercises to enable you to feel more relaxed and to eliminate the stress that can keep you awake at night.
Being alert at work is important, not only because you have many tasks to carry out, but also because a lack of sleep negatively affects mood, motivation, and how you interact with other members of your team. Make sure your bedroom is appealing, uncluttered, and calming. Finally, consider meditation and other exercises that will enable you to reach the state of peaceful calm that is needed for quality sleep.
About the author: Alicia Rennoll is a former health professional who took to freelance writing after starting a family. She writes on a variety of topics, and loves the flexibility and work / life balance that freelancing brings.