Mental Health and an engaged workforce: You snooze, you….win!

Mental Health and an engaged workforce: You snooze, you….win!

There is a wealth of research that demonstrates the close link between sleep, mental health and work productivity, and this body of research is growing every day.

The Royal Society for Public Health states that an adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night yet, according to the NHS, one in three people suffers from poor sleep, with stress, computers and taking work home being the primary triggers for sleeplessness.


Lack of sleep and tiredness can lead to difficulty in coping with daily and work life, which leads to stress and worry, which impacts sleep - and so the cycle continues. The importance of sleep when it comes to work performance is evident, particularly regarding the impact that tiredness has on cognitive interference – that is the inability to focus on one thing without other, unwanted thoughts interrupting.  Research has shown that as little as 16 minutes of lost sleep results in an increase in cognitive interference, which affects decision-making abilities.

The economic cost of the loss in productivity resulting from sleep deprivation equates to £30bn per year in the UK alone.

According to a 2016 study by the Rand Corporation

Yet there is a persistent myth that more hours spent working will lead to greater success.  Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and current US President Donald Trump have both, famously, stated they only need 4 hours sleep per night. Elon Musk said the same, but then admitted that this work regime was negatively impacting his mental health and the rest of his life.


Getting the right amount of sleep makes us better at everything, so surely it’s time for employers to take more steps to ensure their employees aren’t counting sheep all night. MSL’s Employee Engagement team works with employers to identify the stress points that different groups within the workforce are facing, and how they are acting as barriers to productivity.  We combine the results of this research with our knowledge of best-in-class strategies and technologies available to create a supportive, productive working environment.

Our bespoke recommendations range from the use of assets and tools for providing information and support to employees about healthy work practices, through to more structural concepts such as providing space for employees to nap during the day (no more than 30 minutes!) and ensuring offices are bright and uplifting. We then work with clients to ensure recommendations are effectively implemented and that employees understand the resources available to them.

Sleep deprivation is increasingly seen as a public health issue by national health authorities and, with today’s busy lifestyles and work pressures, this will only continue.  When it comes to sleep, mental health and workplace productivity, it’s time for employers to wake up and smell the coffee!

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