Flexibility at Work is Key to a More Rested, Productive Workforce

May 29, 2015 10:45 AM ET

Nebeyou Abebe

Senior Director, Health & Well-being, Sodexo

Given employees’ busy and demanding lives, sleep is a necessity—but its importance is all too often overlooked. Getting enough sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind and more. Yet, it is estimated that around 30% of adults don’t get enough sleep. According to a 2008 National Sleep Foundation poll, almost a third of American employees report that daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities at least a few days each month. In fact, sleep loss affects so many adults that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled insufficient sleep a public health epidemic.

When workers don’t get enough sleep, it can impair their concentration and slow productivity. Tired employees exhibit slower reaction times and poor decision-making skills, which can lead to costly mistakes for their employers. According to Meir Kryger, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, people who don’t sleep well can exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Frequent sleepiness
  • Nodding off at meetings or while driving
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Lapses in memory
  • Poor performance, worse than usual
  • Mood changes, such as being more snappy and irritable

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