According to recent European research more than one in four employees feel exhausted on a daily basis, and 42% of UK workers have lost sleep as a result of workplace stress. Sleep is vital to reducing our risk of health conditions as it’s during sleep that our bodies have time to heal and repair, however, a multitude of lifestyle factors can impact the quality and duration of sleep you have.

The research highlighted that 64% of Brits say that their working life has been negatively impacted by a lack of sleep. One in five have called upon employers for a designated nap time during working hours.

A lack of sleep can have a knock-on effect on mood, wellbeing, concentration and your physical health. Therefore, it’s important for people to prioritise getting good quality sleep in order to live a healthy life.

Work related stress
Almost one in eight office-based staff work on average 20.4 hours beyond their contracted hours each month, weakening their productivity and wellbeing. Work related stress can cause employees to work beyond their contracted hours as they have so much to do, and they feel it is the only way to catch up. Pulling all-nighters on weekdays and then sleeping all weekend, is very disruptive to your sleep pattern. When you go to bed and wake up at different hours, you disturb your Circadian Rhythm, which is a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. Try to set boundaries, and avoid working late if you can, as it’s important to get sufficient sleep each night. 

Ditch electronic devices before bed
Electronics in the bedroom can distract you from sleeping and those gadgets may actually keep you awake. The bright light that screens emit can block the production of the chemical melatonin that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. Limit your screen time before bed and make sure you don’t take your devices to bed with you.

Skip late night snacks
Eating a big meal just before bed could leave you tossing and turning as your body works to digest it. Consuming sugary foods too close to bed can affect your sleep, so it’s important to watch what and when you eat. Eating a large meal near bedtime may cause heartburn symptoms when you lie down that can make you uncomfortable. If you are feeling really peckish, try a bowl of cereal with milk or cheese and crackers. These foods are rich in minerals, which will help you sleep.

Ignore your caffeine cravings
You may think that having a coffee after dinner won’t affect your sleep, but it will. Caffeine takes around six hours for just half of the caffeine that you drink to disappear from your body. It is a stimulant that can keep you awake for hours. Many people don’t realise the extent of items that contain caffeine. It is in chocolate, ice cream, frozen yoghurts, breakfast cereals, pudding, hot chocolate and headache remedies.

No more nightcaps
Having a glass of wine in the evening may help you to relax after a long day at work, and alcohol may help you to fall asleep quicker. However, alcohol before bed can be problematic. Alcohol can make you feel too drowsy and causes you to fall asleep earlier than you normally would, which actually fragments the stages of your sleep and makes it more disrupted as the alcohol wears off. Therefore, once the effects of alcohol wear off, you may wake up and have trouble getting back to sleep.

For further advice & support contact EAP Assist