Insomnia: A Threat To Employee Health

January 2017, by

Sleep habits have a tremendous impact on our lives and, more specifically, on work – an environment where every drop of energy and attention is required. The impacts of insomnia on health are numerous: loss of productivity, weight gain and depression, for instance. Here are a few simple tricks to better snooze in peace.

According to sleep specialist Damien Leger, insomniacs are hospitalized twice as often as the general population, are more heavily medicated and are twice as likely to be absent from work.

Reduce Exposure to Blue Light

90% of Americans use electronics right before sleeping.  However, our electronics’ powerful blue-tinted light is detrimental to health.

According to a study published by Harvard University, using electronics before bed postpones sleep by an average of 10 minutes, reduces REM sleep by approximately one minute and makes waking up more challenging on the next day.

However, this effect can be moderated by adopting a free technological solution. f.lux reduces the impact of the light emitted by computers and smartphones by rendering it more yellow in tone, therefore contributing to cancelling out the negative effects created by blue-toned light.

Sun Coming to the Rescue to Help with Employee Insomnia

Being exposed to natural light in the workplace has a direct incidence on sleep quality.

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, employees who are not exposed to daylight at work are more likely to suffer from lack of sleep (7%) and insomnia (14%) than their colleagues who are.

A simple yet very efficient solution to combat insomnia is to reduce artificial lighting in offices as much as possible and to replace it with natural light.

Sleep Rituals

According to another study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, the inability to leave work behind has a much stronger impact on the risks of suffering from sleep problems, even more so than weight or age. In order to  improve sleep quality, avoid late emails and calls. In most cases, they can wait until the next day.

Don’t Hesitate to See a Professional

Approximately one quarter of the population claims to suffer from insomnia. However, only one quarter of this number discussed it with their family doctor. Doctors are in a position to help people who lack sleep detect the cause of their distress and find solutions adapted to the specific situation.

If first-line interventions (interventions focused on behaviour) do not have the desired effect, it is possible that an approach combining psychological and therapeutic follow-ups may prove beneficial. It is important to note that insomnia in itself is detrimental to health, but it can also cause, aggravate or prolong other medical conditions. Therefore, don’t hesitate and mention it to your medical team!

Dialogue is a mobile platform that offers companies on-demand access to the best health professionals, including, among others, a team dedicated to mental health, which will be in a position to help your employees experiencing difficulties of this kind.

Chloe Eustache