STUDY OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this review is to synthesize the published literature that addresses employer-initiated interventions to improve the sleep of workers and in turn improve health, productivity, absenteeism, and other outcomes that have been associated with sleep disorders or sleep deficiency.
METHODS: We conducted a systematic search and a selective narrative review of publications in PubMed from 1966 to December 2017. We extracted study characteristics, including the workers' professions, workplace settings and shift work, and workplace interventions focused on worker sleep. Because of the high degree of heterogeneity in design and outcomes, we conducted a narrative review.
RESULTS: We identified 219 publications. After restriction to publications with studies of workplace interventions that evaluated the outcomes of sleep duration or quality, we focused on 47 articles. An additional 13 articles were accepted in the pearling process. Most studies employed non-randomized or controlled pretest and posttest designs and self-reported measures of sleep. The most common workplace interventions were educational programs stressing sleep hygiene or fatigue management. Other interventions included timed napping before or after work, urging increased daytime activity levels, modifying workplace environmental characteristics such as lighting, and screening, and referral for sleep disorders treatment. Overall, most reports indicated that employer efforts to encourage improved sleep hygiene and healthier habits result in improvements in sleep duration, sleep quality, and self-reported sleepiness complaints.
CONCLUSIONS: These studies suggest employer-sponsored efforts can improve sleep and sleep-related outcomes. The existing evidence, although weak, suggests efforts by employers to encourage better sleep habits and general fitness result in self-reported improvements in sleep-related outcomes, and may be associated with reduced absenteeism and better overall quality of life. Candidate workplace strategies to promote sleep health are provided.