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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Sleeping for Productivity
04/24/2006

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Trying to increase productivity in your employees? How about encouraging them to get a good night’s sleep?

You heard me correctly – a good night’s sleep can help your employees be more productive during the day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, U.S. businesses lose an estimated $18 billion each year due to lower productivity as a result of employees’ lack of sleep. When sleep deprived, people think and move more slowly, make more mistakes, and have difficulty remembering things.

The other impact you should be concerned about is the impact on your company’s health insurance costs. A recent poll found that 52 percent of the population is sleep-deprived. Many of those fall under the category of overworked, overweight and over-caffeinated. A higher than average proportion of this group has been diagnosed with at least one medical condition (75 percent, compared to 61 percent overall).

So what can you do to encourage employees to be more productive? Don’t encourage all-nighters. Remind your employees that a balanced life is important. And, encourage them to get enough sleep. If they have problems falling or staying asleep, have them talk to their physicians about sleep-inducing techniques, foods to avoid and possible medications. It may make more of a difference than you realize.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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