I'll admit it: my sleep hygiene is not so good. I scroll through social media sites on my phone while lying in bed, staring tiredly at the lit-up screen. Sometimes I drink a Diet Coke in the evening, even though I know the caffeine just keeps me awake without actually giving me any energy. And in the morning, I hit the snooze. Multiple times.
A year ago, though, I didn't even know what sleep hygiene was — not until, through working with the agency jabber logic, I met Sarah Moe. Sarah is the founder and CEO of Sleep Health Specialists, a local business that promotes the value of healthy sleep. Sleep Health Specialists works with their clients to educate about the benefits of sleep, engage employees, and create action plans that help each organization improve as a whole.
As an experienced sleep technician with over a decade of experience in the field, Sarah is not just a sleep expert; she's an evangelist for sleep. Sleep is the third pillar of health alongside diet and exercise, Sleep Health Specialists explains. Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night doesn't just help you feel more awake and rested; it affects your overall physical and mental health. But between chronic busyness, late-night smartphone browsing, caffeine, and other staples of contemporary life, many people assume that they're just supposed to be tired all the time.
That misguided mindset of accepting constant tiredness doesn't only affect personal well-being: Chronic drowsiness can lead people to make dangerous mistakes while driving and operating heavy machinery. Sarah diagnoses more serious sleep disorders as well, including sleep apnea, which puts a strain on the heart that can be fatal if left untreated.
One thing I liked about talking to Sarah is that although she speaks with conviction about the importance of sleep, she admits that she's not perfect, either. But she explained that even getting a full 8 hours just some of the time can help people feel noticeably better and more rested.
That reassurance that sleep health doesn't have to be all or nothing has been motivating for me, someone who often falls short of overly ambitious health goals. That's why we chose "balance" as one of Connect the Grey's values instead of "health" or "wellness" — while healthy habits are important, those habits work best when they come with an attitude of feeling better personally, improving over time, and not beating yourself up too much when you "break the rules."
Sarah recently shared the business case for encouraging employees to improve their sleep habits in a piece for Minnesota Business Magazine. You can also learn more about Sleep Health Specialists and how your company can work with them by visiting their website!