As the importance of sleep becomes more well-known, many companies are looking to the benefits of snooze for more productive employees. Places to nap, a more flexible schedule or just making sleep an open conversation are becoming common perks provided by employers in the United States. In addition, there could be another helpful sleep perk on the way.
According to a new research, helping employees reduce conflicts between their work and family responsibilities using interventions with a flexible work schedule can help significantly improve their sleep duration and quality.
“Work can be a calling and inspirational, as well as a paycheck, but work should not be detrimental to health. It is possible to mitigate some of the deleterious effects of work by reducing work-family conflict, and improving sleep,” explained lead study investigator Dr. Orfeu M. Buxton.
For “The Work, Family, and Health Network Study” intervention, 474 managers and employees of an information technology company in the U.S. were selected to participate, with half of the group experiencing in a 3 month process regarding social and organizational changes, which included interactive sessions, games, discussions and role-playing. Along with the intervention, the group had the perk of controlling their schedule and where they worked –at home, the office or elsewhere—but, still clocked in the same number of hours as the control group.
Managers were also trained on how to be more supportive of their employees’ personal lives and were monitored on how they used that training on the job. Sleep and waking patterns were measured to establish a baseline for each participant’s sleep quality and quantity, again after 6 months and lastly at the 12 month mark after the intervention along with an interview regarding their shut-eye during each check in.
Published in the National Sleep Foundation’s journal Sleep Health, the results showed the intervention helped managers and employees sleep an hour more each week with reported increased sleep quality, compared to those at the company who didn’t participate in the intervention.
“Here we showed that an intervention focused on changing the workplace culture could increase the measured amount of sleep employees obtain, as well as their perception that their sleep was more sufficient,” noted Dr. Buxton.
Sleep is critical to how we perform throughout the day, playing a role in our memory, coordination, happiness, energy, health, spending habits and so much more! Invest in yourself by investing in high-quality shut-eye this year!