The Woman Making Sleep a Corporate Priority

And why the neuroscientist left her consulting job to show the world the importance of sleep.

Thrive Global and The Quaker Oats Company present The Fuel List—20 people changing the way we fuel our minds and bodies every day. These are the leaders making an impact in the worlds of sleep, nutrition, movement and mindfulness right now.

Dr. Els van der Helm, PhD, works on the frontlines of the business world’s sleep deprivation epidemic. van der Helm, who holds a masters in neuroscience, a Fulbright scholarship and a doctorate in psychology, left her management consulting job at McKinsey to start her own sleep consulting firm, Shleep. Now, she shows business leaders around the world that sleep is the key to productivity, engagement, well-being and healthy company culture. She has plenty of research credentials to her name to back up her expertise, having published articles in the journals Current Biology, PLoS One, Psychological Bulletin, SLEEP and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in addition to her work appearing in the Harvard Business Review. In the process, she’s established herself as one of the leading voices showing that lack of sleep doesn’t just hurt us on an individual level—it takes a toll on companies as a whole.

“Sleep used to be something people bragged about not getting enough of in the workplace. Thanks to van der Helm’s work, top executives and professionals all over the world now see that sleep is non-negotiable if you want to perform at your best. In fact, it is the best performance enhancer of all.” — Callie Schweitzer, Chief Content Officer at Thrive Global

Editor’s Note: Els van der Helm has published content on 

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