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Posted by Bradley Smith, contributor, November 8 2017
Management & HR
Do Your Employees Suffer From Sleep Disorders?

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Improving their employees’ sleep quality is usually not a priority for businesses, but maybe it should be! Indeed, sleep disorders can be costly, with productivity losses averaging $5,000 a year for each employee affected, according to a study of 1,000 Quebec residents conducted by renowned researcher Dr. Charles Morin. Moreover, did you know that employees with insomnia account for 23% of the costs associated with major workplace accidents and errors? Read on to learn more on the subject!

Sleep disorders: A frequent problem that is seldom recognized

It is estimated that more than 40% of adults suffer from sleep disorders, such as insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, or have trouble sleeping. And poor sleep is a cause of absenteeism and presenteeism.

On an annual basis, employees with sleep disorders have approximately 28 days of presenteeism compared to 3 days for good sleepers. They are also more prone to other health problems, such as anxiety, depression, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Employer strategies to improve employee health are mainly focused on eating habits, physical activity and stress management, but they should also address sleep disorders.

The solution: HALEO virtual clinic

HALEO Preventive Health Solutions offers the Healthy Sleep Program for the screening and treatment of sleep disorders. A Quebec-based company established in 2015, HALEO has developed an online education and screening platform in partnership with the Sleep Health Institute, a world-class institute led by Dr. Charles Czeisler, Director, Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Employees invited to the program take 10 minutes to complete an online questionnaire. Immediately after the screening, they will be informed if they are at risk for  sleep disorders. If so, HALEO can help them explore their options for diagnosis and treatment.

Cognitive behavioural therapy that addresses the behaviour-related causes of insomnia is a proven treatment for insomnia. However, it is often difficult to find a psychologist or a psychotherapist specialized in sleep disorders. This is one of the main barriers to treatment.

HALEO has put together a team of professionals trained in this field who offer videoconference therapy services. Usually, five or six sessions are sufficient for employees to improve their sleep hygiene and see results.

A proven solution

Desjardins Insurance tested HALEO services in 2017 with 1,800 of their own employees as part of a large-scale pilot project.

During the screening phase, 35% of invited employees completed the questionnaire. Among those who were informed they were at risk for a sleep disorder, 5 out of 6 consented to the sharing of their screening information with HALEO.

Further to the treatment and consulting received through HALEO, the results are conclusive: 89% of employees with insomnia are now sleeping better and 54% have even done away with the problem. Moreover, treating insomnia helped improve the mental health of some participants. Among the employees who completed their treatment, the rate of moderate to severe psychological distress symptoms was cut in half (from 33% to 16% between screening and treatment completion).

Why wait?

For businesses, incorporating a sleep program into their overall health strategy can be profitable. Over three years, the reduction of costs related to absenteeism and presenteeism can outweigh tenfold the investment in screening, diagnosis and treatment.

At AGA Benefit Solutions, we are proud to partner with HALEO to provide this solution to our clients, as HALEO services are fully aligned with AGA’s mission. For more information, please contact your AGA Advisor!


Workplace Satisfaction

Founder, HALEO Preventive Health Solutions | Bradley Smith worked for over 10 years in Canada and in France as a Marketing Director for leading pharmaceutical and cosmetics brands. Back in Montreal in 2015, he launched HALEO Preventive Health Solutions, a company that develops innovative and accessible preventive health solutions. In partnership with Desjardins Insurance and the Sleep Health Institute of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, HALEO recently launched its Healthy Sleep Program, which has already helped hundreds of employees to screen, diagnose and treat insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea. Bradley holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
Bradley Smith, contributor