Sleep is not a luxury, it’s a necessity! Sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise for our health and well being. There is nothing in our daily lives that isn’t negatively affected by sleep deprivation, and no one is immune to sleep deprivation’s negative effects. Sleep deprivation can lead to significant medical issues such as a heart attack, stroke, and obesity. Emotionally, sleep deprivation is related to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Sleep deprivation can also lead to behavioral issues such as poor concentration, reduced efficiency, and impaired judgement and decision making. These negative effects are felt not only when we are at home with our families, but also when we are at the workplace.
Sleep deprivation is estimated to cost American corporations over 100 billion annually in lost production, medical expenses and sick leave. Furthermore, U.S. companies spend 16 billion annually on health care expenses resulting from sleep problems. As such, employers have started to recognize sleep as a central component of employee health and have begun to implement wellness programs centered around Corporate Sleep. These programs offer employees personal healthy sleep solutions to incorporate into their daily lives. This is great news for many sleep deprived employees, however, there is a large segment of this working population who currently need a very different kind of sleep support. These employees are working parents.
Workplace well being and happiness for working parents begins in the home. One of the most common and difficult parenting issues revolves around childhood sleep. We all know that when children do not sleep, neither do their parents. Considering that 70% of women and 92% of men with children under the age of 18 are in the labor force, coupled with the fact that 69% of all children experience one or more sleep problem at least a few nights per week, there is a dire need to offer a Corporate Family Sleep wellness program to working parents. Providing these working parents with the education, solutions and support they need to get their families well rested will help working parents maintain their work/life balance and improve their overall well being, as well as having a positive impact on the corporations they serve.
Currently, at least 60% of Fortune 500 companies offer parent education programs to their working parents, supporting the theory that parenting education belongs in the workplace. However, few have included family sleep as a component of these programs, even though childhood sleep deprivation is at epidemic levels and these sleep issues continue throughout childhood. For corporations with a young workforce of working parents, a Corporate Family Sleep program should not be overlooked as an integral component of a corporation’s work/life or work/family wellness programming initiatives. As well, Corporate Family Sleep support should be included as a benefit of Family Leave programs offered to new parents. In a baby’s first year of life the average parent sleeps approximately 5.25 hours per night and loses the equivalent of 6 weeks of sleep. It is detrimental to the employees, as well as the corporations they serve, for new parents to return to work after family leave in such a severe and prolonged state of sleep deprivation. Offering new parents pediatric sleep support while on family leave will allow these new parents to teach their babies healthy sleep habits that will last a lifetime, so that they can return to work alert, engaged, productive, and feeling healthy and well rested.
Now is the time to invest in getting your working parent employees and their families well rested!
Originally published at medium.com