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Sleep Health and Safety

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls insufficient sleep a public health epidemic. Sleep problems are associated with serious health conditions such as heart disease, obesity and depression and, increasingly, with increased risk for work-related and motor vehicle injuries, rising healthcare costs and lost productivity. An estimated 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems.

Here are ways to promote sleep health and safety in your business:

  • Take sleep seriously. Sleep-deprived workers can be as dangerous as intoxicated workers and expecting them to perform is irresponsible.
  • Establish a sleep policy limiting work to no more than 12 hours per day.
  • Do not schedule more than 60 hours or permit more than 80 hours of work per week.
  • Aim to give employees at least one and ideally two days off per week to recharge.
  • Set up provisions for employees who have to work longer hours due to special circumstances, such as giving a tired worker a ride home or time off to allow rest.
  • Allow additional time for business travelers to adjust to new time zones, and provide transport for potentially weary travelers from airports and hotels to business meetings.
  • Set time aside to educate all employees about sleep health and safety, including best practices for getting adequate sleep. 
  • Provide annual evaluations to identify employees who are at risk for sleep disorders.
  • Train supervisors in sleep and fatigue management and expect them to encourage healthy sleep behaviors.