by Stewart Levy R.Ph., HealthWell Solutions
Proven and Innovative Solutions to Improve Sleep for Employees
According to the CDC 35%, or 41 million workers, report that they routinely do not get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. This is critical, as the impact on employee wellbeing, work productivity, and resultant financial impact to employers is staggering. Sleep deprivation costs employers up to $411 billion a year in economic losses or 9.9 billion working hours every year!1 The National Safety Council states that fatigued workers’ reduction in presenteeism and productivity can cost employers from $1,200 to $1,300 annually.2 In addition, there is an increased risk for anxiety and depression among people who don’t get the required amount of sleep per night and a significantly higher risk of being injured in accidents.3
What Strategies Can Be Deployed to Support Improved Employee Sleep?
The first step for employers is to prioritize sleep as an essential part of a comprehensive wellbeing program. Fortunately, there are a number of proven and innovative solutions available for HR managers and corporate wellness organizations to implement, including health coaching, educational workshops, biofeedback devices, and digital therapeutics.
- Coaching: Health coaches can be a valuable resource for employees, to educate and help them create habits to improve sleep. Specific certifications for “Sleep Coaches” are also now available.
- Educational Programs: Programs can be implemented onsite and through online e-Learning. Content includes stress management, nutrition, sleep habits, and biofeedback.
- Personal Empowerment: Many wellness portals can support individual health challenges through health coaching and by integrating wearable devices to track sleep.
- Holistic Health: There are non-drug and natural approaches that are safe and can improve sleep health, including: CBD, melatonin, chamomile tea, and aromatherapy lavender.
Innovative Technology Solutions to Improve and Monitor Sleep
- Oura Ring: A device worn as a ring that records and measures your body temperature and sleep patterns throughout the night.
- Other devices such as Garmin, Polar, Fitbit, Withings, WHOOP, and Biostrap similarly track sleep quality, heart rate, oxygen levels, and other biometrics
- Smart Mattress: For those who do not wish to wear a tracker to sleep, there are smart mattresses from companies such as Eight Sleep and Sleep.Me.
Apps for Sleep Health
- Drowzle: FDA-approved app that can be user to screen for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and overall sleep health. It analyzes breathing sounds, gaps and patterns, which are recorded on your cell phone and sent for analysis.
- Apps such as SleepCycle, Sleep Easy and DAYZZ have been created to help promote healthy sleep habits. Sleep hygiene and changing unhealthy habits are encouraged to benefit sleep health and wellbeing as a whole.
Apps for Stress Management
- Calm and Headspace feature meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercise videos and audio recordings. Research shows that practicing meditation and/or mindfulness before bed can help people fall and stay asleep, as well as improve sleep quality.
- SLEEPIO: Cognitive behavioral therapy tool and program designed for insomnia.
- Somryst: FDA-approved Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Tool for chronic insomnia. It requires a prescription that can be obtained through Telehealth.
About the Author: HealthWell Solutions is a health management company that provides customized corporate health and wellness solutions to drive successful health outcomes.