You can’t afford not to create vibrant, healthy work environments. Serious health problems seriously cost companies.
- 75% of healthcare problems in the U.S are caused by stress-related and preventable chronic diseases
- Productivity losses linked to missed work cost U.S. employers $225.8 billion, or $1,685 per employee, each year
Provide for the basic biological needs of your employees with these 4 tips for improving employee health and wellbeing.
Though it never seems to fit into our busy schedules, sleep is an extremely important part of being a healthy and functioning human being. The amount of sleep necessary for each person is a little different. However, there is an overarching trend that we can all admit to: we don’t get enough sleep to function at our highest potential.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, after several nights of losing sleep—even a loss of just 1–2 hours per night—your ability to function suffers as if you haven’t slept at all for a day or two.
Some of the benefits of sleep (which is free) are:
- improved memory
- increased creativity
- lower stress levels
- higher ability to fight depression
- increased problem-solving ability
- overall improved bodily functioning.
Memory: “If you are trying to learn something, whether it’s physical or mental, you learn it to a certain point with practice,” Dr. Rapoport, associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center, says. “But something happens while you sleep that makes you learn it better.”
Creativity: During sleep, the emotional components of memory are strengthened, according to researchers at Harvard University and Boston College. This can help the creative process.
Stress: “Sleep can definitely reduce levels of stress, and with that people can have better control of their blood pressure,” Dr. Jean said to Health.com. “It’s also believed that sleep affects cholesterol levels, which plays a significant role in heart disease.”
Though many people think they can make up for lack of sleep when they have more time, like on the weekends, sleep lost is always lost.
“If you sleep more on the weekends, you simply aren’t sleeping enough in the week,” Dr. Rapoport said. “It’s all about finding a balance.”
Interact With Nature
“Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost.” According to Psychological Science, this describes “nature therapy.” Or rather, time spent interacting with nature. Nature has a powerful ability to promote health and wellbeing, both mentally and physically. The positive benefits of interacting with nature throughout the day include:
- fighting depressing
- increasing cognitive ability
- increasing productivity and creativity
- boosting energy.
A study published in 2010 in the Journal of Environmental Psychology showed that spending 20 minutes outside per day could boost energy levels.
“Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don’t just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses,” Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and an author of the 2010 study, said.
In another study, University Of Michigan students were divided into two groups and given a memory test. Half of the participants walked around an arboretum and the other half walked down a city street. Those who walked in the arboretum did almost 20 percent better than the other group, who showed no improvement.
Nature is a very powerful and completely free way to improve your all-around mental and physical health. Take advantage of nature by integrating it into your workplace. Or by providing employees with access to outdoors during work hours.
Take Time Off
The power of time off for overall cognitive function should not be underestimated. Not only does time away from work allow your brain to work through the backlog of information that is stocked in your mind on a daily basis, it allows you a change of scenery and routine, expanding your perspective and thought process.
Allison Gabriel, an assistant professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University says,”There is a lot of research that says we have a limited pool of cognitive resources. When you are constantly draining your resources, you are not being as productive as you can be. If you get depleted, we see performance decline. You’re able to persist less and have trouble solving tasks.”
Move, Any Way
Too many people think that movement means an extensive amount of time at the gym and underestimate the power of simply moving around.
According to a study done by University of Cambridge and the University of Essex, reported results from over 10,000 individuals shows that physical activity has a positive effect on emotional well-being. The results of this study also showed that people reported being happier when they were physically active.
“Our data show that happy people are more active in general,” Dr Jason Rentfrow, from Cambridge’s Department of Psychology and a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College said. “However, our analyses also indicated that periods of physical activity led to increased positive mood, regardless of individuals’ baseline happiness. There have been many studies about the positive psychological effects of exercise, but what we’ve found is that in order to be happier, you don’t have to go out and run a marathon – all you’ve really got to do is periodically engage in slight physical activity throughout the day.”
No human can function without the fulfillment of biological needs of sleep, movement, and quiet reflection time. When humans thrive, companies prosper. Learn more at Beni.fit.
Information from Heath.com, Medicaldaily and University Of Cambridge