New StayWell Sleep Study Examines the Effect of Sleep on the Modern Workplace

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Study of nearly 600,000 people reveals getting too much or too little sleep is associated with impaired workplace productivity

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The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults under 65 years old get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, yet 30 percent of adult employees report fewer than six hours of sleep nightly.

StayWell, a health solutions company, today announced a comprehensive study on the association between sleep, absenteeism and on-the-job productivity loss. With health risk assessment data from nearly 600,000 employees representing over a dozen industries across 66 companies, it is the largest study of its kind. Published in the American Journal of Health Promotion (AJHP), the study is available via SAGE Publications.

Key study findings reveal that employees who are getting too much or too little sleep can suffer from on-the-job productivity loss. Specifically:

Excess Sleep, Inadequate Sleep – The Performance Killers.

  • Employees sleeping 10 or more hours per night missed an average of 1.6 times more days of work due to illness and averaged 2.2 times more productivity loss than employees who slept eight hours per night.
  • With five or fewer hours of sleep each night, employees averaged 1.5 times more days absent and 1.9 times as much productivity loss as employees who reported eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Employees who reported “almost always” feeling tired during the day averaged 2.7 times more days absent and 4.4 times more productivity loss than employees who reported “almost never” feeling tired.

“The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults under 65 years old get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, yet 30 percent of adult employees report fewer than six hours of sleep nightly,” said Stefan Gingerich, senior research analyst at StayWell and principal investigator on this study. “Poor sleep habits have been tied to weight gain, stress, and higher levels of illness. While these relationships are complicated, it’s becoming more apparent that these factors have the potential to influence employee productivity and attendance, making it important for employers to hone in on sleep issues now.”

Recognizing the correlation between sleep and productivity, StayWell has increasingly focused its employee well-being solutions on improving quality of sleep. In late 2016, for example, StayWell released a Sleep Learning Series to build an understanding of sleep-related issues, such as how diet and exercise, lifestyle behaviors and daily stress affect sleep patterns and quality. In addition, StayWell offers a digital sleep solution within its self-directed coaching product, as well as a daily sleep challenge. The company also recently launched Refresh Care, aimed at improving physicians’ sleep, and offers sleep scoring as a part of its broader Well Being Profile.

“There are many simple things a person can do to start realizing the benefits of a good night’s sleep,” said Hans Hage, senior vice president of product and innovation. “Through our numerous programs and continued emphasis, StayWell is committed to improving the quality, quantity and regularity of sleep for all of those who take advantage of our services.”

To learn more about StayWell’s Sleep Programs, along with StayWell’s entire suite of employee wellness solutions, visit StayWell.com or follow @StayWellTweets on Twitter.

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About StayWell
StayWell is a health solutions company that uses the science of behavior change to help people live happier, healthier lives. StayWell brings decades of experience working across the health care industry to design solutions for improving individual and organizational health outcomes, managing the health of targeted populations, and creating brand engagement for employers and health care organizations. StayWell programs have received numerous top industry honors, including the C. Everett Koop National Health Award and the Web Health Award for health engagement programs. StayWell also has received URAC and NCQA accreditation for several of its programs. StayWell is majority-owned by Healthcare Services & Solutions, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA (“Merck”). The company is headquartered in Yardley, PA, and also has a major location in St. Paul, MN. To learn more, visit http://www.staywell.com.

About Merck
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer's disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit http://www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA
This news release of The StayWell Company, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (http://www.sec.gov).

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Erin Bocherer
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