Making the business case for sleep

We all know that if we have a bad night’s sleep, the next day we’re just not at our best.

We are often more irritable, find it hard to concentrate or don’t perform as well as usual and the longer our sleep is disrupted the worse these impacts get. And these individual symptoms play out for employers in terms of direct impacts on productivity, poor customer service both internally and externally and increased risk of accidents in the workplace.

Because of this we’re seeing more and more businesses (in England and globally) taking an interest in the specific impact of sleep deprivation or disruption on the health and wellbeing of their employees and the implications for productivity and competitiveness.

This is supported by reports such as that by Rand Europe using data from 62,000 people in five major economies which concluded that the economic cost of tired employees (being less productive or absent from work altogether) amounted to almost two per cent of GDP.

We need sleep as it’s essential for maintaining levels of cognitive skills such as speech, memory and innovative and flexible thinking. It’s a period where our body recharges, repairs and restocks itself, so when an individual is sleep deprived this recovery time is lost.

Although we can cope with sleep loss for a couple of days, eventually the body just can’t keep limping on without this essential recovery time.

Shift work and night-time working come to mind when you start a conversation about sleep, but we all know that sleep deprivation isn’t just an issue for people working antisocial hours.

I’m sooooo tired.

It’s essential – across all sectors regardless of risk – that employees get adequate rest each day. It can prevent accidents, improve moral and increase work output. Further, studies show that a well-rested workforce are less susceptible to depression and other mental issues … this builds the case for mental first aiders.

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