Searches for the phrase, “How much sleep do I need?” have grown up to 1,429% in the UK over the past 10 years (January 2007 – March 2017), according to Google Trends analysis by health insurance provider, AXA PPP healthcare, with searches for the phrase predominantly peaking at the start of the year, in January.
2016, however, revealed high-peaks of searches for the phrase in January, April and September – so it may be worth keeping an eye out for tired staff next month!
The third annual AXA PPP Health Tech & You State of the Nation online survey reveals that, when employees have problems with their sleep or experience insomnia, almost half (45 per cent) report that this adversely affects their work and career; 8 per cent say this has a severe negative impact.
It seems that sleep problems are widespread – out of the 2,000 Brits surveyed*, one in ten (10 per cent) say they always have problems with sleep or experience insomnia and 54 percent report often or sometimes have trouble sleeping.
Sleep is essential to good mental wellness. A good night’s sleep can make you feel refreshed, positive and able to cope with things better. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can feel moody and irritable – and over time this is likely to affect your relationships with people, your work and your mental wellbeing. Here’s some sleep tips HR Managers could consider sharing with their staff:
Top tip 1: Stay active during the day
Getting regular exercise during the day will help you to feel tired at night. Being active increases your metabolism and helps manage stress more effectively, which in turn will improve your sleep. Try to exercise earlier in the day and avoid late night workouts, as you need time to wind down, cool down and relax afterwards.
Top tip 2: Watch what you eat and drink
Don’t have a heavy or spicy meal just before going to bed, as your body needs time to digest the food before sleep. But don’t go to bed hungry: a light snack before bedtime is ideal. Try not to have coffee, black tea or any other drinks that contain caffeine during the afternoon and evening, as it will make it harder for you to get to sleep. A glass of wine may help you to fall asleep, but alcohol can affect the quality of your sleep, making you more likely to wake up during the night.
Top tip 3: Make your bedroom more sleep-friendly
Create a calm sleeping environment by turning your bedroom in to a dark, quiet, cool and comfortable haven – you may want to try black-out curtains, eye shades or ear plugs. Remove any distractions that may keep you awake, and keep your bedroom free from computers, TVs and phones.
Top tip 4: Develop a bedtime ritual
Try to develop a relaxing night-time routine that prepares your body and mind for sleep. It could be taking a hot bath, reading a book, listening to calming music or having a milky drink – but try to stay away from bright lights and heated arguments just before bedtime.
Top tip 5: Don’t toss and turn – get out of bed instead
If you can’t fall asleep after about 20 minutes, get up and do something else instead – try something relaxing like reading or listening to music. Only go back to bed when you feel tired.
Top tip 6: Try stopping weekend lie-ins
Keeping a regular sleep schedule can help you get into a good sleeping routine. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day, even if you’re not feeling tired.
Top tip 7: Keep a sleep diary
It can be difficult to work out why you have problems sleeping. Keeping a sleep diary can help you track when you fall asleep and wake up, how many times you wake up during the night and how rested you feel in the morning. After a week, reflect on your notes and try to work out what helps you sleep and what makes it worse. Download our sleep diary on our Mindbuilding toolkit.
For more information on how to get a better night’s sleep, visit AXA PPP’s Business Health Centre.