News & Blog

Why Employers Need to Take Sleep Seriously: Insights from our Dreaming of Change: A Manifesto For Sleep

May 29, 2024

Following our recent manifesto launch ‘Dreaming of Change: A Manifesto for Sleep’, we have some eye-opening (pun intended) findings, and trust us, they’re more than just a wake-up call—they’re a loud alarm bell. It turns out a whopping 75% of workers are pointing fingers at the workplace as a major culprit for their sleepless nights. Yes, boss! You heard that right. From relentless workloads to job security jitters and the ever-persistent ping of out-of-hours messages and emails, it seems our jobs are keeping us wide awake at night. Let’s dive into why this is happening and what we can do about it.

Workload Woes

First up, the sheer volume of work. Many of us are drowning in tasks, projects, and never-ending to-do lists. The pressure to meet deadlines and the constant chase to get ahead can leave our minds racing long after we’ve logged off. This relentless grind not only hampers our ability to relax but also invades our precious sleep time. When your brain is still buzzing with work-related thoughts at 3 AM, it’s no wonder you’re not getting those sweet, sweet ZZZs.

Job Security Jitters

Next on the list is job security—or rather, the lack of it. In these unpredictable times, worries about layoffs, company restructures, and financial stability can weigh heavily on our minds. This anxiety can spill over into the night, making it tough to switch off and get the rest we desperately need. It’s like trying to sleep with a loud, annoying alarm clock that just won’t quit.

Out-of-Hours Overload

And let’s not forget the digital age dilemma: out-of-hours messages and emails. With our smartphones always within arm’s reach, the boundary between work and personal life has become increasingly blurred. Those late-night emails or after-hours text messages might seem harmless, but they can trigger stress and keep us in ‘work mode’ when we should be winding down. It’s like having your boss tap you on the shoulder just as you’re about to drift off—totally sleep-shattering!

Why Employers Should Care

So, why should employers care about their staff’s sleep? Well, because: sleep-deprived workers are less productive, more prone to errors, and have lower morale. Not to mention the increased risk of health issues, which can lead to higher absenteeism and healthcare costs. Our research found 48% have engaged in high-risk behaviours when unable to fall asleep – imagine all those in haulage, emergency services, construction – just to name a few – making a wrong decision because they can’t function properly (scary to think about, isn’t it?). It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.

A Call to Action

It’s high time for employers to step up and take sleep seriously. Here are a few steps they can take:

  • Promote a healthy work-life balance: Encourage regular work hours and discourage sending messages outside of these times. Respecting personal time is crucial.
  • Manage workloads effectively: Ensure that workloads are realistic and achievable within regular working hours. This might involve better delegation or hiring additional staff to spread the load.
  • Support job security and wellbeing: Regularly communicate with employees about their job security and the company’s health. Providing reassurance can significantly reduce anxiety levels.
  • Create a sleep-friendly culture: Educate employees on the importance of sleep and consider introducing initiatives like flexible working hours or nap spaces to help staff recharge.
  • Appoint a Workplace Sleep Ambassador: our WSA training course outlines how to recognise and deal with sleep issues in the workplace. It combines a pre-recorded session, a live seminar and a workplace sleep toolkit that ensure you get the best results possible.
  • Pledge your support: Now, more than ever, we need to rally together to tackle the growing issue of sleep deprivation and fatigue. That’s why we’re calling on everyone to pledge their support for The Charter for Sleep Equality.

    The Charter for Sleep Equality addresses the critical issue of sleep deprivation and fatigue. A good night’s sleep is vitally important for the mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing of all. We are working hard to raise awareness about the impact of sleep deprivation as a health and safety risk and the lack of support available. Our shared vision is that sleep difficulties are understood in the workplace, employers are educated, and employees have access to effective, consistent, evidence-based advice and support.

Let’s Make Sleep a Priority

Sleep is not a luxury—it’s a necessity. By acknowledging the impact of work on sleep and taking proactive steps to address these issues, employers can create a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce. So, let’s all hit the snooze button on stress and make sleep a top priority!

Feel free to share your thoughts and let us know how your workplace is (or isn’t) helping you get a good night’s sleep. We’d love to hear from you!