American Academy of Sleep Medicine

This post is sponsored by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Working in HR, we often forget that wellbeing isn’t just about losing weight and feeling good about yourself. It’s about caring for your body, mind, and spirit to enhance and improve the quality of your life. And although the world is on a wellbeing kick, data still shows that most workers aren’t getting enough sleep.

That includes HR professionals.

I’m passionate about helping people get to bed at a decent hour, so here’s what I want you to do. Take your eyes off the computer screen right now. Look to your left, look to your right. One of you is tired, and it’s dangerous. Over 37 percent of are workers sleep-deprived and an estimated 13 percent of workplace injuries are attributed to sleep problems.

Working late nights might impress your CHRO or VP of Human Resources, but limiting your sleep can lead to trouble making decisions, solving problems and controlling your emotions. The cognitive and motor performance impairments caused by sleep deprivation can be comparable to drinking alcohol, which explains why so many HR departments are fraught with drama.

When you don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night, there can be severe consequences. Sleep-deprived workers have a higher rate of presenteeism, so you show up to work but don’t function at your best. You will have trouble concentrating and making decisions. You also will struggle to think creatively and problem-solve with your colleagues in other departments. And you’ll make mistakes due to carelessness and exhaustion.

Productivity is impacted, too.

I don’t generally care about how much money a company loses on its employees, but the National Safety Council reports that fatigued workers cost employers anywhere from $1,200 to $3,100 per employee in declining job performance each year, while sleepy workers are estimated to cost employers $136 billion a year in health-related lost productivity.

Employers are wasting money on sleep-deprived workers when they could spend money on training and salary adjustments.

How do you fix this?

I’m eager to partner with The American Academy of Sleep Medicine to urge HR professionals to create a workplace climate that values the importance of sleep. How do you change your culture? Some companies limit after-hour email use. Other companies have aggressive PTO programs and prompt you to use your benefits through a series of incentives and rewards.

In whatever way you approach this topic, be creative. Don’t make this an HR initiative. Get your safety committee or site leadership team involved, ask your workers for input, and do whatever it takes to help your employees get enough sleep to improve the quality of their lives.

Be a force for good at work. Isn’t that what HR is all about?

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