sleep workplace wellness

Sleep More = Eat Better?

Does insufficient sleep help drive poor eating habits?

We have previously noted not only the workplace benefits of a proper night’s sleep, but also the ways in which a well-run workplace wellness program can promote strong sleep habits and improve a business’ own bottom line.

For example, the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine looked at the “Association Between Employee Sleep With Workplace Health and Economic Outcomes.”

To make its determination: “Employees of a global financial services corporation were categorized on the basis of their self-reported average hours of sleep. Differences in health care costs, productivity measures, health risks, and medical conditions were analyzed by hours of sleep while controlling for confounding variables.”

The results: “A strong U-shaped relationship between health care costs, short-term disability, absenteeism, and presenteeism (on-the-job work loss) and the hours of sleep was found among employees. The nadir of the “U” occurs for 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night.”

The conclusion was clear: “Worksite wellness programs often address health risks and medical conditions and may benefit from incorporating sleep education.”

Now, according to MedPage Today, a new study indicates that “Longer Sleep May Mean Better Dietary Habits.” In the study, extended sleep was “tied to less sugar, carb, and fat intake.”

The piece reports: “Among habitually short sleepers — 5 to <7 hours per night — a behavioral intervention that extended sleep led to significantly reduced intake of free sugars compared with those who continued as short sleepers.”

Further: “Those who extended sleep greatly reduced intake of fats, carbohydrates, and free sugars compared with habitually short sleepers, they wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”

The group wrote: “Sleep is increasingly recognized as a potential modifiable risk factor that may be involved in the complex etiology of obesity and cardiometabolic diseases and is becoming an area of increasing public health concern.”

Given the financial costs from diabetes and other chronic diseases, the incentives for a workplace wellness program to help advance proper sleeping habits appear strong. As noted in the Rand report titled “Why sleep matters — the economic costs of insufficient sleep”:

“On an annual basis, the US loses an equivalent of about 1.23 million working days due to insufficient sleep. This is followed by Japan, which loses on average 604 thousand working days per year. The UK and Germany have similar working time lost, with 207 thousand and 209 thousand days, respectively. Canada loses about 78 thousand working days.”