The following notes were taken at Forum 2017, the annual convention of CPBI (Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute) held June 5-7 at the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg with the theme: “Thriving In a Climate of Change”.

Presenters: Josee Dixon, Desjardins / Bradley Smith, HALEO Preventive Health Solutions Inc.

Key Points
Sleep disorders such as insomnia cost employers an average of $5,000 / year in lost productivity for each employee who has such a disorder, and yet treatment only costs an average of $500 / year, which points to a huge untapped ROI for employers.

An employee with sleep apnea, for example, can wake up over one hundred times in a single hour, making restful sleep impossible.

Sleep problems lead to higher rates of absenteeism and presenteeism (when an employee is present but not actually contributing or doing their job). People who suffer from sleep problems also have higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, mental health problems, and stress.

The medical community is not equipped to address sleep issues. GPs are not trained to treat sleep issues, and Canada has one sleep specialist for every 25,000 people with sleep problems.

Some employers encourage employees to take short power naps. For example, a 3-5 minute power nap before 3:00 pm has been demonstrated to reduce stress, reduce errors, and increase productivity. It also has as much benefit as a 20-minute nap. But it is obviously better to help people get a better night’s sleep if possible, making napping unnecessary.

Millions of people use medications to address sleep problems, but there are drug-free therapies that do the job just as well.

HALEO is a Canadian start-up that helps employers support better employee sleep. Their approach is:

  • Evidence-based: they work with professionals and a major clinic to deliver cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Supportive: they ensure clients have support throughout the care pathway.
  • Accessible: they have developed a mobile app to support clients directly.
  • Simple: ERs can seamlessly roll this solution out to their entire workforce.

The HALEO solution begins with an app-based survey to identify employees with sleep problems. This sub-group then receives telephone support and diagnostic treatment plans via the Sleep Health Institute. Diagnosis and treatment then follow via secure video conferencing with a therapist and secure private sleep coaching.

Early results are very promising with an ROI as great as $20 for every dollar spent.