Sleep plays a significant role in both physical and mental health, but research makes it clear that Americans struggle to get quality sleep. In fact, according to the CDC, one third of US adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep.
Also according to the CDC, getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis or less than the recommended amount of sleep is linked with a wide range of common health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.
It is widely documented that stress, the chronic type that is highly prevalent in the workplace, is one of the leading sleep disruptors.
Feeling sleepy in the office while sitting in front of the computer is one thing, but in industries and workplace settings including warehouses, construction sites, airports, and manufacturing, physical safety is of the utmost importance. In these settings, the National Safety Council (NSC) points out that workplace fatigue can contribute to bottom-line issues like worker absenteeism, poor performance at work, occupational injuries, and accidents, and even offers a calculator for organizations to estimate the cost of sleep deficiency on their operations.
So, what measures can companies take to help stressed employees improve their sleep habits (often referred to as sleep hygiene)? Or perhaps as you are reading this, you have realized that you are ready to make some changes to your own sleep habits?
Here are a few tips to share or apply yourself:
1. Reduce stress – According to medical professionals, high levels of stress hormones in the body can impact how long it takes to fall asleep or may prevent sleeping through the night. Sleep loss itself can also trigger the stress response, only prolonging the cycle. So, it stands to reason we can benefit from bringing our stress level down.
One place to start is being sure to engage in physical activity each day, even if it’s just a short walk, yoga practice, or higher intensity exercise in the form of HIIT routines you can do at home. Exercise increases endorphins (feel-good hormones) while reducing stress hormones, which together help support relaxation.
There are countless stress reduction tools out there. It is likely your employer even offers some through a corporate wellness program provider. If you haven’t recently, be sure to review your company’s employee wellness benefits package to see what may already be available.
If you need some inspiration, Urban Balance’s on-demand class library is a great holistic wellness resource both for companies and individuals seeking guidance with their routine.
2. Develop a consistent sleep schedule – As the proverb “early to bed, early to rise” has long encouraged us, it is beneficial to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Any early riser would agree that having a fixed wakeup time builds the body’s desire for sleep at the end of the day, making it easier to rest and begin the next day’s cycle.
3. Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool – Invest in a set of blackout curtains or try sleeping with an eye mask to support your body’s internal clock. The absence of light signals the brain that it’s time to sleep. Adjust the room temperature – conventional wisdom suggests between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal.
4. Leave ample time to unwind at the end of the day – Turn off screens by at least 30 minutes before bed, do a mediation or some restorative yoga before bed, or settle in with a good book to help your brain unwind.
5. Aim for balanced nutrition – Eat a balanced diet packed with lots of fruits and vegetables, which provides the recommended daily intake of vitamins and nutrients. Eat dinner a few hours before going to bed, as digestion can interfere with sleep. Be sure to watch your caffeine intake throughout the day, as well as alcohol intake – both are stimulants and can interfere with your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
6. Make holistic wellness practices a part of your life – There are many holistic wellness practices that promote quality sleep, including chair massage, yoga (especially yin and restorative styles, as well as yoga nidra), meditation, Tai Chi and other styles of movement. These practices promote overall stress reduction, which sets the stage for better quality sleep.
If getting a good night’s sleep is a struggle and you’re curious about whether holistic wellness practices like yoga, meditation, and other healing modalities might help you or your employees, don’t hesitate to use us as a resource!
Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.
Browse our catalog of virtual wellness services with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.
Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with over 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.