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Sleep and mental health

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When employees are tired at work, their mood, focus and motivation are negatively affected. In the long-term, lack of sleep can cause a risk of hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. There’s also a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Living with a mental health problem can affect how well a person sleeps, and poor sleep can have a negative impact on mental health. It can become a vicious cycle too.

You can help promote good sleep to your employees. So here are Ben’s top tips on how to help your employees with their sleep:

1. Educate and inform

information and advice  is available about how getting enough sleep is important for health and wellbeing. You can refer your employees to Ben’s online support about sleep here.

2. Look out for signs

Signs such as a change in performance, more emotional behaviour, weight changes, high consumption of caffeine and under eye bags and dark circles. If you spot an employee with these issues, ask if they are OK.

3. Encourage them to take responsibility for their wellbeing

Communicate that your organisation cares and wants them to be at their best, but that starts with them – and encourage them to inform their line manager if they are struggling with anything.

4. Take care of shift workers

Educate and support your shift workers to ensure they’re getting the sleep they need to stay healthy, productive and safe. You can refer them to information specifically for shift workers.

5. Be clear about your expectations

Be clear with what your expectations are as an employer / manager and give reasonable, clear deadlines for work – also encouraging others to do the same. Try as much as possible to discourage emails after hours and at weekends.

6. Be flexible

If you can, consider letting employees set their own working hours so they can decide what works best for them – and work at their best. This could be letting employees come in an hour later after a bad night or offering them the option of working from home on days they are really struggling.

7. Reward achievements, not overtime

Make sure you don’t only recognise employees who put in crazy hours of overtime at the expense of their social life. That could make others feel like giving up their life outside of work is the only way they will succeed – and that’s not healthy.

8. Add a nap space

This won’t be possible for every workplace, but it could be a particularly good idea if your workforce is made up of a lot of shift workers, for example. A 20-minute nap can make a person feel much more refreshed and productive.

www.ben.org.uk

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