Insights

A fresh take on ideas and trends in Human Capital

Sleeping isn't a Hobby, it's a Requirement

I’ve always loved my sleep. It used to be the hardest challenge of my day to get out of bed, s

I’ve always loved my sleep. It used to be the hardest challenge of my day to get out of bed, still is sometimes to be honest. What’s not to love, it’s relaxing, it’s pressure free and it’s cosy. On top of all that everybody agrees a good night’s rest is needed in life to function.

The fact is, from a psychological perspective, a lot is still unknown about sleep itself, this even goes as far as to say we’re not exactly sure why we do sleep at all. However, in the pursuit of finding out we have become experts on what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. Each individual is different in their sleeping needs and we are different types of sleepers but what is important is that we get that required amount, whatever that is for the person.

That’s all well and good but what you’re saying is the same things I was told as a child, what are the facts? Well for a start there isn’t a fixed amount of time that people should be sleeping, it changes as you get older. The University of California San Francisco found that people that slept less than 6 hours were 4 times more vulnerable to catching a virus and The American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2011 found that in the US the average worker was losing 11.3 days of productivity due to fatigue.

That last point is of a lot of interest to me and if you have anyone working for you it should be a lot of interest to you too. That 11.3 days of lost productivity resulted in an estimated loss of $63.2 billion in the US economy. That’s a lot, especially when you consider all that’s needed to correct it is encouraging people to do the most natural thing in the world. Can you think of a day you’ve just written off because you didn’t get enough shut eye? I bet you can and you’re not alone. If you don’t get to recharge your batteries you’re not going to be performing your best, it’s as simple as that.

But as hopeless optimised I am I ask what’s being done about it and what’s the steps being taken to fix it? Well the US insurance group Aetna is literally paying its employees to get a minimum of 7 hours sleep. $25 is being awarded for every 20 nights of 7 hours achieved by the employee, this is monitored through a bracelet that is linked to the organisation’s system or done on an honour system. Something I think is very commendable is the trust it has given to the employee, giving the opportunity for the employee to realise it’s because the organisation actually cares and isn’t just trying to get that extra half an hour of energy out of them. This organisation is taking great leaps in taking care of its workforce even when they aren’t working, that kind of investment is bound to benefit everyone involved in ways that might not even be realised yet.

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