Employers Recognize the Importance of Sleep

Physician's Money Digest, January 2007, Volume 14, Issue 1

Physicians know as well as anyone the value of getting plenty of sleep. You may still have nightmares about your marathon hours in residency. Now several companies are realizing that sleep and work productivity are closely linked, and are taking steps to ensure that their employees are well rested. A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that US businesses lose more than $100 billion a year in lost productivity and damage to employees' health and safety due to sleep deprivation. For example, nearly 80,000 drivers a day fall asleep behind the wheel. If an employee is feeling tired and lethargic during work hours, a 15-minute coffee break may not be enough to bring them out of their slump. According to Time, ComPsych, which is America's largest provider of employee-assistance programs, says that company requests for its stressreduction and sleep-improvement training series—which consists of stretching, breathing exercises, and developing restful presleep routines— skyrocketed 89% from 2004 to 2005. Some companies even provide napping facilities for their employees so they can fight fatigue and stress, setting aside quiet rooms outfitted with comfortable cots or even hi-tech sleep pods equipped with massaging chairs and noise-canceling headphones.