MENTAL HEALTH

World Sleep Day

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Did you know World Sleep Day is Friday March 15, 2019?

We all sleep. We all need sleep. Sleep is a well-recognised component of our health yet some of us don’t seem to be able to get enough.  Research from the Sleep Health Foundation in 2017 (Asleep on the Job) report, indicates that 40% of Australians reported that they are not getting enough sleep. Looking at this closely it is apparent that approximately half of this sleep disturbance is due to lifestyle issues and the other half is due to physical or mental health conditions, which includes some sleep disorders. Most sleeping problems are preventable and/or treatable, yet less than one-third of sufferers seek professional help.

Probably the most important tip regarding better sleep is having a healthy respect for sleep and an understanding of its importance to us and to our health.  With shift work, or tight work deadlines, or caring for young children or animals when our sleep may be disturbed, we need to work hard on restoring the balance. Workplaces of ‘yester-year’ might have worn excessively long working hours and sleeplessness as a badge of honour; we have all heard the saying “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. The workplace wellbeing principles of today’s era have included sleep in the messages around balance, good health and wellbeing.

We know that there is a bi-directional relationship between sleep and mental health.  That is, sometimes the sleep disturbance can create the mental health issues, and vice versa it can sometimes be the case that the sleep problems are a bi-product of the mental health problems.  This knowledge gives even more weight to the importance of sleep. Getting adequate sleep needs to be prioritised. As a society, as organisations and as individuals we can all put some effort into improving our sleep.  It’s often the small, simple things that can make major differences.

What is adequate sleep? How do I know if I am getting enough?

  • Duration: The length of sleep should be sufficient for the sleeper to be rested and alert the following day. There is a big range in what is considered normal or typical and can be age-related.
  • Continuity: Sleep periods should be reasonably seamless, without too much waking up and tossing and turning. Having said that, expectations that adult sleep should have no wake-periods is unrealistic.
  • Depth: Sleep should be deep enough to be restorative. It is important to feel refreshed by your sleep. You might not be refreshed immediately but certainly within the hour, once up and about there should be a sense of restoration.

Why would a workplace address and promote good sleep and celebrate World Sleep Day?
  • More productive workforce
  • Less risk of accidents
  • Less absenteeism and presenteeism
  • Better sleep = better mood regulation, so more tolerance for each other
  • Healthier, lighter workplace. Better sleep=less likely to be overweight, less likely to develop chronic diseases
  • Get the discussions happening about sleep and improving sleep as awareness raising.
  • Being aware of the return on investment by encouraging employees to invest in adequate rest, as quality of life can be improved with healthy sleep.

How might workplaces address sleep issues?
  • Consider booking a one-hour seminar on sleep with one of our Converge International consultants around World Sleep Day (March 15, 2019)
  • Enquire about Converge International’s programs, workshops, seminars aimed at improving sleep health
  • Consider a novel event such as PJ day in your workplace –perhaps a special morning tea with a gold coin donation aimed towards sleep research.
  • Encourage EAP services as employees having a way of being able to get some early assistance with sleep with one of our consultants.
  • Use your in-house social media to highlight the importance of sleep.

Are you a shiftworker? Watch our webcast for strategies and tips on getting the most out of your sleep when your working hours other than the traditional 9-5. 

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