Companies Take Notice as Sleep-Deprived Workers Lose Productivity

A growing awareness of the dangers of sleep deprivation on health — and therefore, its effect on insurance costs and worker productivity — is prompting companies to try to improve their employees’ rest.

Companies such as Johnson and Johnson offer employees a digital health coaching program for battling insomnia that involves an online sleep diary and relaxation videos for mobile devices.

Research out of Harvard has shown that, for the average worker, insomnia results in the loss of 11.3 days of productivity each year, or the equivalent of $2,280. As a nation, that represents a total loss of $63.2 billion.

The digital medicine company Big Health officially recently launched a program called Sleepio at Work, which provides employees a “sleep score” based on a questionnaire, creates a personalized sleep program and offers insomnia advice using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.

A Fortune 500 manufacturing company, according to Big Health’s Sleepio website, saw employees get about four more hours of sleep per week and report fewer serious troubles with their sleep after using the program.

But the study states that cognitive behavioral therapy tips will go only so far to change employees’ sleep patterns if companies don’t make broader cultural changes.