Sleep Patterns Impact Health and Productivity
Got tired employees? Restless legs, sleep apnea, and insomnia are just a few common sleep disorders. Our culture equates busyness with success. As a result, at the end of the day, it’s hard to wind down and get adequate sleep each night, leading to sleep debt. The lack of short term memory, information processing and reaction time can make being tired just as dangerous as being drunk. Police officers can often tell an accident scene where the passenger fell asleep by a few chilling clues; signs of evasive action are missing, so are skid marks. Many of these accidents can be fatal.
Sleep deprivation compromises immune systems and amps stress that can increase the chance of heart and digestive disease. Lack of sleep impairs perspective, and can wreak havoc in home and work relationships. The Mayo Clinic defines sleep disorders as “changes in sleeping patterns or habits. Excessive daytime sleepiness, irregular breathing, or increased movement during sleep are signs of sleep disorders. A sleep disorder can affect overall health, safety, and quality of life.”
Don’t lose another minute’s sleep. Vice President of Wellness Coaching for Plus One Health Management, Susan Rogge-Adyniec suggested the following strategies to help your employees find their precious Z’s:
Go to bed at the same time every night. This allows your body to know the sleep patterns it should expect. Your body normally wakes up at the same time each day, based on the rhythm it expects and your overall sleep patterns. Staying up late to finish a project or meet a deadline throws this rhythm off. It is best to go to bed and wake up early versus staying up late to complete the work.
The bedroom should be a cool, dark sanctuary. Move computers, TV’s and sound system’s into another part of the house. The best sleep temperature is mid to upper sixties.
Keep your bedroom completely dark. Science has shown that our eyes can sense light even when closed which signals that it may not be bedtime. Bright lights from alarm clocks, TV’s or even street lights can hinder our ability to fall and stay asleep. Try to assure a very dark room for sleeping to let your mind know that this is the right time for sleep.
Avoid processed, heavy, sugary foods before bed. High carb intake can release insulin and trigger hormones which can disrupt sleep patterns throughout the night. If you eat a large meal or snack just before bed, make sure you allow time for digestion prior to heading to bed to avoid this. Likewise, avoid stimulants like caffeine and alcohol at night.
If these strategies aren’t enough, look to your organizational wellness program for highly effective stress reduction techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises and restorative yoga poses that promote rest.