There are many published studies noting a lack of sleep can negatively impact your employees' health and well-being. In addition to decreasing their productivity at work, chronic sleep issues can lead to other consequences like increasing the risk of diabetes, obesity, hypertension and depression. But, did you know that prolonged sleep deprivation can also impact your employees' decision-making?
A recent study External Link found that people who are consistently tired make more impulsive and risky decisions compared to their well-rested selves. More importantly, the test subjects didn't even recognize that their lack of sleep had any impact on their decision-making behaviors.
Your employees' lack of sleep could have some serious consequences
Whether your employees are out on the manufacturing floor, offering customer service support, leading strategic projects or analyzing business data and reports, mistakes caused by sleep deprivation can snowball into bigger issues and can impact your bottom line.
Risky and impulsive decisions External Link caused by prolonged sleep deprivation can negatively impact your employees, but the decisions ultimately impact the population your organization serves. American workers are increasingly strapped for sleep — and the ones grappling with life-or-death decisions on the job might be most likely to get poor shut-eye, a recent study External Link says. In fact, it's believed that accidents like the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez oil spill External Link were results of over-tired workers. No one wants a surgeon, teacher, contractor, financial analyst or first responder to be low on sleep — especially when you're the end-user.
Getting the appropriate amount of sleep has been proven to improve mood, the ability to learn and focus and can help to increase productivity. Studies have also shown that sleep impacts physical reflexes, fine motor skills and judgment — important factors for any workplace.
How can you help educate your workforce about the importance of sleep?
You can't afford for your employees to make risky or rushed decisions when on the job, so use these tips to help promote better sleep and sound decision-making:
- Debunk common sleep-related myths like early risers are more productive throughout the day or weekends should be used to catch up on lack of sleep during the week.
- Educate your workforce on forming better sleep habits opens in new window and how diet, exercise and other medical conditions contribute to feeling fatigued.
- Encourage employees to get the recommended amount of sleep provided by the Sleep Foundation External Link. It's suggested that individuals ages 18 to 64 need seven to nine hours of sleep each night, while those over the age of 64 need seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
- Recommend optimal room temperatures External Link for sleeping — between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Promote good sleep hygiene External Link like limiting use of electronics before bed, building in time to wind down before bed and sticking to a consistent bed time and wake time.
- Advertise the "Find Care" option on myWellmark® opens in new window to help employees locate sleep experts if issues persist.
- Advocate usage of the meQuilibrium (meQ) app to access activities and information related to sleep. Find the meQ link on the "Well-being" tab on myWellmark opens in new window.
Educating your employees on the importance of sleep is not only crucial for the well-being of your workforce, but also has great impact on the performance, productivity and success of your organization.