Why should we prioritise being a well-rested workforce?
If the last two decades of sleep science have taught us anything, it is that that quality recovery is a critical component of every employee’s wellbeing and an integral part of every company’s bottom line.
Although the ROI is not as easily quantifiable as in other areas of business development, substantial amounts of research now demonstrates that an organisation’s policies and viewpoints on recovery are fundamental drivers of the health of their people, their business and the societies in which they exist.
In our 21st century, globalised face-paced, high-stakes “always on culture”, demands on the workforce increasingly stretch employees’ boundaries. Something has to give, and usually, that something is both the quality and quantity of employees’ sleep.
How an employee sleeps directly impacts on their performance and productivity at work, as well as their health, happiness, wellbeing and overall quality of life.
Research shows that when we sleep badly, which can be defined as reduced sleep quality or quantity, this has clear links to poor mental and physical health and increased risk for adverse performance. However, it’s not just about considering what is lost, but also what might be missed out on by employers when their teams aren’t getting enough high-quality rest.
Despite the fact that a lot of time, attention and financial resources are spent on up-skilling the workforce, most organisations are overlooking one of the most powerful ways to gain a competitive advantage – by providing the necessary education and training that allows their workforce to sleep well – thereby ensuring they are on the top of their game throughout their working day.
Ultimately, ill attention toward a sleep-deprived workforce undermines productivity and innovation – factors that provide companies with a competitive edge and the ability to disrupt the market.
But it’s not only about numbers, KPIs and business growth.
When your people sleep well, they can flourish in all areas of their life.
They approach their days with greater creativity, curiosity and innovation. They’re more attentive, focused and engaged inside of your business and at home with their families. They have more energy, their immune systems function better and their bodies can express their greatest health for decades to come, free from the chronic disease that is ravaging our modern societies.
In fact, there isn’t one single area of the body, mind or spirit which is left untouched by an ability to achieve deep and restful sleep.
If better sleep was a piece of the latest fintech programming for your operating system; your CEO would have commissioned its purchase as soon as it entered the market.
The day we begin to treat our people the same way that we treat our systems, the health of our businesses and the economy will truly flourish.
I believe that there is an enormous pool of untapped human potential that can arise from our workforces being well-rested, as the science clearly demonstrates that sleep is the most potent inner healing, emotionally balancing and performance enhancing force that exists.
When I first set my career sight on becoming a passionate sleep advocates, I began asking certain thought experiments …
- How different would society and our working world be if everyone felt healthier and happier as a result of better sleep?
- Would we have happier and healthier mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, students, teachers, friends, colleagues, managers, entrepreneurs and leaders?
- Would every one of these people be able to experience what it means to truly live, celebrate life and discover the unique contribution that they are here to make for their communities and workplaces?
I truly believe that there are no challenges we face that cannot be solved by dedicated and passionate people who are well-rested and functioning to their full potential.
As Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science wrote in his book “Why We Sleep”:
“Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health.”
I can’t help but think – if every organisation knew of the true power that could be cultivated through prioritising the culture, training and development that ensured their workforce was well-rested – that the human race would achieve far more than we ever knew possible.