Skip to Main Content

Promoting sleep hygiene for employee wellness

Woman waking up and stretching in bed with sunrise in the backgroundSleep is an essential function for optimal health, but in today’s culture, it is easy to get caught up in our busy lives and prioritize other things. During sleep, the body maintains physical health, supports brain function and promotes growth. When an individual does not get enough quality sleep, their risk of developing chronic health issues increases substantially.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (n.d.), about one-third of adults do not get enough sleep (seven or more hours per night), which can prevent employees from meeting their health and productivity goals and create safety risks at work.

Sleep hygiene refers to healthy sleep conditions and lifestyle habits that lead to consistent, high-quality rest. Employers can support their employees’ well-being by providing sleep hygiene education and resources and creating an environment that values work-life balance and adequate rest. The workplace benefits of proper sleep include the following:

  • Overall improved health of workers
  • Better physical and cognitive reaction times and accuracy
  • Reduced risk of workplace injury
  • Higher energy levels
  • Increased productivity
  • Better focus and engagement

While good sleep hygiene practices can help all employees, it is important to be aware of other factors impacting sleep, such as sleep disorders. Some common disorders are insomnia, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea, and these conditions disturb normal sleep patterns. Individuals with a sleep disorder may experience many difficulties obtaining quality sleep and may need medical intervention to treat the condition.

Employers should be aware of the challenges those with sleep disorders face and encourage screening, education and flexible work conditions to support the wellness and success of their employees.

Sleep hygiene tips

Follow a consistent sleep schedule

  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, including weekdays and weekends.
  • Limit daytime naps when possible.

Have a nightly routine

  • Discontinue using electronics (e.g., cell phones, tablets, computers, television) at least 30 to 60 minutes before bed, as these devices cause mental stimulation and produce blue light that can decrease melatonin production.
  • Follow a consistent routine each night, which may include activities like changing into pajamas and brushing your teeth to signal your mind that it is time for bed.
  • Dim your lights and wind down with relaxing activities like stretching, yoga, meditation, or reading a book.

Optimize your sleep environment

  • Make the room dark by turning off lights and blocking any other light from windows, electronics, etc.
  • Keep the environment set to a cool, comfortable temperature.
  • Reduce noise as much as possible.
  • Have a comfortable mattress, pillow and bedding.

Follow healthy daytime habits

  • Limit caffeine consumption in the afternoon and evening.
  • Get adequate exercise and other physical activity.
  • Avoid heavy meals too close to bedtime.

(List adapted from Suni and Rosen (2024))

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Sleep: An important health and safety concern at work
Suni, E., & Rosen, D. (2024). Mastering sleep hygiene: Your path to quality sleep. Sleep Foundation

This document is intended for general information purposes and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document cannot be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedure or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional or technical advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser or trained professional. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss or damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on this content. Markel® is a registered trademark of Markel Group Inc. © 2024 Markel Service, Incorporated. All rights reserved.