“Don’t lose sleep over it” is an old adage encouraging people not to worry about their problems, whether it’s the kids or money or the dozens of other things about which humans worry. Though it’s considered a mere nicety by some, a few organizations from Unilever to the historic Cambridge University are taking extra steps to ensure quality sleep for their employees, even if it means school: sleeping school, that is.
The Sleep School, led by Guy Meadows of London, is said to address insomnia through drug-free methods, helping its students learn better tools for sleeping and getting a full night’s rest. If you’re wondering whether it’s effective, reviews on his company’s website from The Guardian and The Times seem to affirm his offering. Afterall, Mr. Meadows has spent years studying sleep and has even trained doctors in his own methods, based on his research. Through workshops, The Sleep School, as the name suggests, provides education on sleeping and its benefits.
However, sleep is personal. So why should organizations concern themselves with their employees’ sleeping habits? Because, as companies like PriceWaterhouseCoopers has learned, sleep, or the lack thereof, affects overall ability to perform and even deal with stressful situations. What’s more, lack of sleep or insomnia can lead to poor judgement, low productivity and less than optimal leadership. In other words, it makes the company weaker and can be a liability.
The problem is, most assume that a lack of sleep is related to doing better, a stronger work ethic and dedication. That late nights are a sign of someone who’s passionate and willing to go above and beyond. While all of those are probably true and qualities deserving of recognition, studies continue to show that they are unhealthy, though probably not always noticeably ineffective. For example, both billionaire Richard Branson and lifestyle brand maven, Martha Stewart have said they only get around 4-6 hours of sleep per night. They are doing well by most measures, but it is not something others should follow.
According to experts, individuals should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to perform at their best. Great sleep decreases fatigue, enhances creativity and develops a noticeably better work environment and company culture. Maybe The Sleep School is out of your range as a company, or just something you are unsure of presenting to your employees. However, you should make its importance known, through newsletters or other literature, and provide the necessary resources for employees to take care of themselves while at home.