Come along to our new well-being forum!

We’re excited to announce the launch of our NEW well-being forum, dedicated to helping Worcestershire Employers improve health and well-being in the workplace.

 

With the first event to be held at The Three Pears on the 4th July 2018, the Well-Being Forum is free to attend and will provide a friendly platform to support businesses in improving well-being in the workplace; enabling participants to ask questions, share experiences and offer support for one another.

 

Liz Preece, Founder and Managing Director of The Healthy Worker, explained: “Businesses lose over 15 million working days to stress, anxiety or depression each year, therefore it comes as no surprise that over 50% of Senior Managers now place improved employee wellbeing high on the agenda, according to the latest results from the CIPD Health and Wellbeing Survey.”

 

“These figures alone magnify the importance of putting strategic steps in place to ensure staff are working in a healthy, supported environment. By creating something like the Well-Being Forum, Employers can start to explore their own well-being strategy, guided by the Healthy Worker team and other industry professionals. It will also provide an excellent opportunity for networking with like-minded local professionals.”

 

To gain primary research, Liz conducted a survey to gain insight into the wellbeing needs of local businesses and their priority areas for action moving forward. With the aim of then engaging relevant local stakeholders who can join together to help provide a boost for Workplace Wellbeing within Worcestershire and the surrounding areas.

 

“This survey provided me with the best possible primary research, ensuring I can tailor the forum to the current needs and wants of local employers.” explains Liz. “The first meeting will be held at The Three Pears on the 4th July from 9am, and I’m delighted to welcome Rachel Vann, of Malvern Hills’ District Council, who will host a talk on improving well-being in the workplace, following their success in winning the Chamber of Commerce ‘Health and Well-Being in the Workplace Award.”

 

For more information and to keep up to date with more news on the Well-being forum, please visit contact liz@thehealthyworker.co.uk or get in touch on 01684 231461.

Could sleep deprivation be affecting your mental health?

You may have heard that a lack of sleep can affect you physically, having an impact on your weight, your immune system and even aches and pains, but did you know that sleep deprivation can have an even bigger effect on your mental well-being?

 

Studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between sleep and your mood – but it’s more than waking up feeling grumpy after tossing and turning all night. A lack of sleep, such as prolonged periods of insomnia, can lead to a lack of concentration and impair our ability to think clearly, as well as influence our outlook on life, energy levels, motivation and emotions.

 

Despite these warnings however, it is clear that people across the UK are not getting a good night’s rest. In 2016, research by the Royal Society for Public Health found that the average Briton is losing almost an hour of sleep per night – that’s a whole night’s sleep over the course of one week!

 

The report, titled ‘Waking up to the health benefits of sleep’, highlights the need for individuals to get more good quality sleep to protect our health and well-being, and calls on schools, employers and GPs to discuss sleep as part of complex health issues.

 

The most common mental health issues linked to sleep deprivation are depression and anxiety disorders. It therefore may not surprise you to hear that people with insomnia are 10 times as likely to have clinical depression and 17 times as likely to have clinical anxiety than those who get an average of 7-9 hours per night.

So, why does this happen? What is the impact of sleep deprivation on our brains?

 

First of all, a lack of sleep will effectively cause the memory inbox of the brain to shut down. Sleep affects the formation of myelin, which is vital to allowing the brain’s cells to grow and repair ready to operate the next day. So, when the brain is deprived, we are unable to properly commit new experiences to memory.

 

Studies have shown that sleep is also important to maintaining the health of our brain’s neurons. A good night’s sleep allows our neurons to independently rest and repair themselves, but if this happens while we’re awake, it is much less efficient and affects our cognitive performance such as our ability to reason, make decisions and react quickly. Moderate sleep deprivation has even been compared to the impairments of alcohol intoxication.

 

Sleep deprivation also leads to an increased development of beta-amyloid, a damaging protein in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

 

There are numerous ways to avoid or combat sleep deprivation, such as establishing your natural wake-sleep cycle (or circadian rhythm), exercising regularly, limiting caffeine and nicotine and taking time out to wind down at the end of the day. However, for some, sleep deprivation can be a more serious issue that requires medical intervention. Booking an appointment with your GP is the first step to diagnosing a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnoea.

 

Whatever your course of action, it’s time to take sleep seriously, particularly when it comes to your mental health.