In wellness, sleep is the new broccoli.
Wellness vendors tell employees that getting a good night’s sleep is important to overall health. Like eating more fruits and vegetables, this is indeed sound advice, and perhaps somewhere in this great land of ours, there is an employee who had missed all the previous memos to that effect.
They likely also advise employees that consuming caffeine after noontime can make it harder to fall asleep. On the other hand, they would add, keeping a consistent bedtime, sleeping in a dark, quiet room, and turning off the computer all contribute to sleep hygiene.
Spot-on advice in all cases. And, as with the general importance of sleep, there may still be a few employees in some organization somewhere who – until their wellness vendor told them – were blissfully unaware of those basic sleep hygiene factoids.
While Quizzify’s popular sleep quiz does check those boxes just to be on the safe side, we’ve learned there are at least six more things that many employees who have difficulty sleeping really don’t know…and would benefit from learning because in every case, the required behavior change is easy. Let’s start with surprising sleep inhibitors.
1. Energy-efficient light bulbs
Who knew? These give off far more “blue light” than conventional Thomas Edison-type incandescent bulbs. https://www.sleep.org/articles/choosing-lightbulbs/ And blue light is probably one of the biggest causes of insomnia. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side Here’s an easy behavior change: screw one of the old-fashioned bulbs into your bedside table lamp.
2. Orange Soda
Everyone knows colas contain caffeine. Some folks know that most root beers and even cream sodas do too. But orange soda? Turns out that Sunkist Orange Soda contains more caffeine than Coke. Along with more sugar too. The good news is that, being orange-based, it provides some Vitamin C. (Not.) Here is a list of all popular beverages containing caffeine, including some you wouldn’t expect. https://www.math.utah.edu/~yplee/fun/caffeine.html:
3. Over-the-counter headache relievers like
Yes, Excedrin. https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/excedrin The irony is that caffeine is suspected as a migraine trigger. So the last thing you’d expect a headache remedy to contain would be caffeine. And yet it does. Some (but not all) medications labeled “non-drowsy” also contain caffeine. And while we’re on the subject of surprising sources of caffeine, let’s add breath mints, decaffeinated coffee, and any product that contains the word “energy.”
So many things employees need to know about sleep, so little space on the internet. The next three are some things that we here at Quizzify ourselves learned while putting together our sleep quizzes.
4. Your cellphone has a setting which filters out blue light
We thought we were the last to learn this useful piece of sleep trivia, but many employees have missed this question in Quizzify’s sleep quizzes. On iPhones, this setting is called “Night Shift,” and on Androids it’s "Night Mode." You can preset it as well. We would recommend about 1-2 hours before bedtime. iPads have these settings too, but sadly we’ve yet to find a PC that does. Turning down the brightness an hour before bed helps, though.
5. Melatonin might actually work…but alcohol doesn’t
Of all the “natural” sleep aids that have been claimed to aid sleep, melatonin is the only one with fairly solid science behind it. The effect is modest – a few minutes a night – but that’s more of an effect than any other natural sleep aid can credibly claim.
It doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try. It doesn’t take much melatonin to fall asleep, so if 1 to 3 milligrams an hour before bed isn’t doing it for you, doubling the dose won’t help.
One thing is fairly clear: melatonin helps you reset your body clock when you cross time zones.
Alcohol? It helps you get to sleep but good luck staying asleep. It disrupts your entire sleep cycle so that you often wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-alcohol-affects-quality-and-quantity-sleep
6. There is a ton of stuff employees don’t know about medicinal sleep aids
We were going to make this part of this edition of “six things,” but there is too much information to squeeze in. That’s because there are literally tens of billions of sleep-inducing pills consumed annually. And yet look at everything your wellness vendor talks about. You’ll find zero on this topic.
Enter Quizzify, whose sleep quiz covers this and more. And stay tuned for the next edition of Six Things Employees Don’t Know, which will be all about medicinal sleep aids.