Sleep and mental health

Sleep and mental health are deeply connected. Studies have shown that consistently getting enough sleep improves everything from brain function and fitness levels to emotional intelligence. That’s why we launched our Maximising Sleep campaign, which saw Unmind users report an improvement of 9% in the quality of their sleep. Here’s how it went.

As a society, we often underestimate the importance of sleep. Yet some of the biggest challenges we face during the day can be traced back to it.

Surely there are bigger things to concern ourselves about than something as elementary as sleep? Like the global pandemic. That looming deadline. Or the feeling that our parenting experience has just recently sometimes fallen short of awe-inspiring and life-affirming.

While these are all, of course, important topics, our ability to deal with them hinges on some smaller but crucial things. Whether we’ve drunk enough water, exercised adequately, connected with other humans and, crucially, slept for the right number of hours.

Without sufficient sleep, we’re more prone to irritability, exhaustion, and an over-reliance on caffeine. And we’re less likely to confront life’s challenges with rationality and resilience. As well as these personal pitfalls, there’s an economic downside to sleeplessness too.

Policy think tank Rand Europe estimates that sleep deprivation is costing the UK economy £30bn a year in absenteeism and presenteeism. This translates to around 200,000 working days lost as a country.

Here’s another way to look at it. Employees who sleep less than six hours a night lose around six more days’ productivity a year compared to those who sleep seven to nine hours a night.

Promoting better sleep – better opportunities for sleep and better quality of sleep – improves the performance of our businesses and the well-being of our people. Unmind was built with this in mind. ‘Sleep’ is one of the seven areas of well-being that form our whole-person approach to mental health support. To celebrate World Sleep Day earlier this year, we ran a campaign that helped our users understand and improve the quality of their sleep.

Activities included new content releases within the Unmind platform as well as an educational webinar and sleep challenges. Here are some of the highlights.

Sleep Q&A webinar

On Friday 12 March, World Sleep Day, we hosted a Q&A style webinar with our Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer, Steve Peralta (who incidentally has experienced his own up-and-down relationship with sleep, wonderfully described here), and our special guest Jason Ellis, Professor of Sleep Science. The two answered the audience’s burning questions or concerns around sleep. Over 700 users tuned in.

Sleep challenge

We encouraged users to commit to one daily intention, such as reducing caffeine intake, for two weeks to help improve sleep. To be in with the chance of winning the befitting prize of luxury pillows, we asked users to journal their progress on their Unmind daily mood diary. Over 10% of our entire userbase entered the competition.

Here’s what the winner said:

“My regular Unmind Index score consistently identified asleep as an area with room for improvement, so I was naturally interested in the ‘sleep challenge’. From attending the webinar I gained some brilliant tips and tricks on how to improve the quality of my sleep.

“Checking in every morning has been really valuable in reflecting on my sleep and identifying my habits and behaviours that were impacting how well I slept. I have introduced a few ket changes which have considerably improved my sleep quality and patterns. As a result, I feel happier and healthier.”

Campaign content

In line with the campaign, we launched two new Series – self-guided L&D programmes available on the platform – ‘Maximising Sleep’ and ‘Sleep for Shift Workers’. We also added new sleep-focused Tools – in-the-moment interactive exercises – including melodic soundscapes and breathing exercises to improve sleep.

The campaign saw a 71% increase in the use of sleep-related tools on the platform.

Sleep improvements

After the campaign, employees were asked to fill in their Index – Unmind’s mental health and well-being self-report assessment, which explores seven key areas of well-being, including sleep. The sleep sub-score captures perceived quality and satisfaction of sleep, and how sleep affects day-to-day functioning.

The average improvement of the sleep sub-score of those who engaged with sleep content was 9%. These small but significant improvements can make all the difference when you take a whole-person approach to well-being.

More about our campaigns

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Whether it’s promoting new platform content releases or celebrating national awareness days, our ongoing campaigns act a bit like an in-house mental health champion for our clients. Our Client Success team will partner with you to drive platform uptake and engagement, ensuring your organisation gets the full Unmind experience.

To find out more about how we could help you manage the mental health of your organisation, do get in touch following this link.