How to Nurture Your Sleeping Habits to Rejuvenate Yourself

We all agree that a nutritious diet and regular physical activity is the key to a healthy body, but there’s more to it that our bodies crave.  Adequate sleep is just as important but is frequently ignored.   Think about how irritable you feel when you starve your body from sleep due to a late-night shift, from socializing, jetlag or even stress.

Lack of sleep not only leaves us groggy and out-of-sorts the next day but prolonged sleep-deprivation can also have a profound effect on our memory and cognitive skills. Our body requires adequate rest and sleep to function properly every day.

 

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Consider the following tips to nurture your sleeping habits:

1. Have a sleep schedule and stick to it

Fix your bedtime so that you go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Follow the schedule even on weekends and holidays. Having a consistent sleep-wake cycle helps to promote better sleep at night.

 

2) Have a bedtime ritual

Prep your body for sleep by creating a sleep-inducing environment, listening to calm music or taking a warm bath. Do the same things every night before going to bed, this signals our body that it is time to doze off.

 

3) Avoid eating or drinking anything that interferes with sleep

Going to bed hungry or over-eating can lead to discomfort and ultimately disrupts our sleep. Make sure you pay attention to what you eat and drink before bedtime. Avoid drinking coffee, tea, chocolate or pop drinks at night as the caffeine found in these can keep you up all night. Similarly, smoking and drinking alcohol should also be limited as it depreciates your sleep quality.

 

4) Make your bedroom a sleeping haven

Your bedroom environment heavily contributes to the quality of your sleep. Make your bedroom ideal for sleeping by investing in a comfy mattress and pillows. If  your room is too light, try room-darkening shades, as a  quiet, dark and comfy room promotes sound slumber.

 

5) Don’t stress over falling asleep

Pushing yourself to fall asleep when your body isn’t ready only leads to frustration and makes it all the more difficult to get a sound sleep. If you can’t fall asleep at your fixed time, get up and do something relaxing and go to bed when you are truly tired. You could also try meditation to relax your body before you try to fall asleep again.

 

The quality of our sleep impacts both our health and lifestyle. In order to live a healthy, energetic lifestyle, it is important to concentrate on making our sleep patterns a priority.

 

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Trista Chan is a Wellness Strategy Advisor at Optimity.  She leverages her education in nutrition and experience in corporate health to guide organizations in building healthy, engaged employees.  Her “me-time” activities include yoga, reading health blogs, cooking….did she mention she likes wellness?  Her passion for all things health-related shines through in both her work and personal life. 

 

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Fight the Winter Blues – 5 Micro-Exercises to Help Boost Your Mood

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It doesn’t take a specialist to tell you that the weather can affect your mood. When the temperature gets low, and those holiday bills start piling up high, things can get a little gloomy. But fear not! There are some scientifically proven ways to lift your spirits, whether you want to perk up, calm down or just feel happier in general, exercise is sure to lighten your mood and has been proven to do so.

 

Here are 5 micro-exercises to do to help boost your mood:

1. Yoga

Yoga can help you feel strong and centred with the added benefits of improving your sleep and releasing stress. There are numerous yoga apps that you can download to get some quick moves to do at your desk, in your home, or just about anywhere. You can practise yoga for any amount of time and it can easily fit in to your normal daily routine. 

2. Jumping jacks

You’ve probably been doing jumping jacks since you were in school, but did you know that they can quickly increase your heart rate and get more oxygen to your brain? They also burn fat and strengthen your muscles. Get up from your desk, do 10, 20 or 50, and then walk around to let your heart rate come down, and go back to work. This will help you to feel more alert and focused.

3. Take the stairs 

If you work in an office with a few floors, then this is the perfect micro-exercise for you! Get up from your desk and run up and down the stairs a few times. The stairway of an office is usually pretty quiet so it will also give you a chance to get away from everything and help to regain your focus.

4. Go for a walk

Walking is a great and easy way to wake you up and enhance your well-being. Even a 5 minute walk can have you feeling better straight away. If you can get outside for a walk, take a quick trip around the block and you’ll feel better in no time. If you can’t get outside, simply walk around the area you’re in or to another department. Walking can also reduce stress and boost your mood.

 5. Clean something

It sounds weird, but cleaning your work area or general area can actually make you feel better. Take everything off the desk and wipe it down. If you have a home office, vacuum, or clean up the kitchen or bathroom. It will get you moving and take your mind off whatever is stressing you out. The best thing about a quick clean is you’ll actually be glad to get back to the desk!

 

 

Hilary is a Wellness Advisor at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc. in Human Kinetics. She aims to empower others to live their healthiest and happiest lives. Her interests are swimming, hiking and hanging out with friends and family. Wellness is a big part of her life and she hopes to make it a part of others.

 

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Proactive vs. Reactive Corporate Wellness Programs

Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena

To date, most people rely on reactive healthcare services, that is, they visit healthcare professionals only when a problem arises or a condition worsens. However, the benefits of a proactive healthcare approach can actually save more lives.

As the saying goes, “prevention is better than a cure.” A proactive approach prepares the body even before you are ill and can reduce health costs over the years. When educating employees for a proactive healthcare approach, they need to be provided with detailed information about how to minimize their health risks, prevent impending health issues, manage existing chronic conditions and prepare for work-related emergencies.

 Over 51.6% of Canadians over 20 has been diagnosed with some type of chronic disease. Lifestyle changes are one of the biggest contributors to conditions such as cancer, obesity, kidney problems, and cardiovascular and liver diseases. Stressful work conditions can cause common issues like back pain and insomnia, as well. It is roughly estimated that Canadians lose about $130 billion in productivity losses and $70 billion in direct healthcare costs due to chronic illnesses.

 The top four illnesses that can decrease an employee’s performance are headache, flu, back pain and arthritis. Such conditions are not only detrimental to the individual, but they can indirectly impact their coworkers as well. For example, if they were to go on a sick leave, their coworkers’ workloads may increase. Corporate wellness programs, however, can greatly reduce absenteeism, direct healthcare expenses and compensation claims and thus can provide an ROI of $1.40 to $4.70 for every $1 invested by the corporation. Breaking the fact sheet, the ROI for different programs for every $1 spent includes health risk assessments ($6.04), fitness programs ($4.90), wellness coaching ($4.50), smoking cessation ($3.50), flu shots ($2.10) and obesity management ($1.17).

 Employers must keep in mind that their employees are their greatest asset, and need proper care. Besides a strategic implementation of effective wellness programs, regularly conducting health fairs boosts the productivity of your employees and helps to educate them on preventing and managing health issues.

   


Abena is a Client Services Associate at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Global Health. She is passionate about human rights and health education, and hopes to develop tailored interventions to combat health inequities around the globe. Her interests include story writing, camping and exploring different cultures on her travels.

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Top 10 Scary Health Cost Stats that Employers Must Know for 2017

Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena

 

From insurance coverage to increasing the productivity, good health of employees gives good returns to you in the long run. In order to get a high ROI here are the top 10 health cost stats that every employer must know in 2017…

 

1. Rising cost of biologics

Biological pharmaceuticals currently account for less than 3.5% of a corporation’s total healthcare expenditure. However, many new biologics are entering the marketplace and will soon represent 70% of the total medications. With it, the therapy costs can be $25,000 to $75,000, making the average cost of a biologic in the US about $45 compared to just $2 for chemical or molecule-based medicines.

 

2. Oral medication cost vs. injectable costs

Oral medication costs are generally charged to corporate benefits plans, whereas injectable medications and infused drugs are often covered by provincial health plans in Canada.

 

3. Smoking and lifestyle habits

There has been a considerable rise in chronic illness and obesity in the past decade. Smoking habits cost employers $570 million, whereas employees combating obesity cost about $73.1 billion per year.

 

4. Specialty Drugs vs. Transplantation costs

Spending on specialty medicines (medication for cancer, Hepatitis C, etc.) is expected to rise from $187 billion in 2016 to about $402 billion by 2020. Regular spending on specialty drugs can sometimes be higher than even transplant costs. For example, a person with mild liver disease can incur an average annual cost of $17,000 with specialty drugs—which will continue for 10 years, at least! However, compared to liver transplantation costs, the latter can be ten times cheaper.

 

5. The excessive rise in usage of prescription drugs in developed countries

Seventy percent of North Americans are on at least one prescription drug, while 5% of the world’s total population consumes 95% of the world’s prescription drugs. Lack of cost transparency and inaccurate information can result in unnecessarily costly medical bills.

 

6. Inappropriate usage of specialty drugs

There is a significant premature and overuse of specialty drugs. On an average, there is an annual waste of about $3,000 per patient due to inappropriate and unrequired usage of drugs.

 

7. Increase in cost of health insurance premiums

A recent study by National Group on Health, Washington, showed that there will be about a 6% rise in health insurance premiums in the year 2017. The major contributors to it will be specialty pharmacy (31%), high cost claimants (32%) and specific disease on conditions (17%). There will be an overall inflation of 11%.

 

8. Employers Shifting Costs to Workers

Currently, 36% of employers are considering a shared contribution strategy. About 12% of them have already adopted such strategy and this has helped them save over 4% of their expenditure on healthcare programs.

 

9. Medical cost trends needs to be recalibrated

With an 11.9% growth rate in 2007, the numbers for medical costs have steadily declined from from 6.8% in 2015 to 6.5% in 2017. While 50% is spent on outpatient and inpatient costs, there has been a considerable rise in share of pharmaceuticals from 17% to 20%, this year. Offering high deductible health insurance plans can be a savior for employers, yet a burden on employees if not utilized properly.

 

10. Hospitals demand higher prices

According to KHN, hospitals can directly employ physicians and create large and costly medical systems. Additionally, malpractices of premiums and unnecessary tests can cost employers more than $1,400 per person.
Follow us on Twitter to stay current on the top cost-containment wellness strategies.  To learn more about cessation programs for smoking and their impact on your ROI, check out this link: Corporate smoking cessation programs and ROI.

 

Abena is a Client Services Associate at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Global Health. She is passionate about human rights and health education, and hopes to develop tailored interventions to combat health inequities around the globe. Her interests include story writing, camping and exploring different cultures on her travels.

 

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Corporate Smoking Cessation Programs and ROI

Corporate Wellness is a $6 billion industry in countries like the US, and there is no doubt that the good health of employees boosts their company’s performance. However, the conventional method of directing the resources exclusively to the unwell doesn’t turn out to be too economical for a company. Each organization must gauge their corporate wellness requirements and choose a tailored wellness program to suit – that is, to gain maximum cost vs. savings benefits, without compromising on the health of the employees.  Corporate wellness programs, if done correctly, actually help in revenue gain in the long run.

smoking cessation-1.jpgTalking about the Return on Investment (ROI), apart from all other wellness programs, Smoking Cessation programs give earnings of about $3.50 for every $1 spent by the company. If we calculate the difference between the cost of average lost work days and expenditure on wellness programs, an overall profit of about 64% is usually recorded and the rate of insurance claims also decline by about 50% every year.

Besides the usual measurement of body mass index, cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar, lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and stress affect the productivity of an employee.  Smoking cessation programs can help a company identify the actual age of an employee who is a regular smoker and then personalize a program for these people.

Corporate Smoking Cessation programs should be designed after a detailed examination of all employees in the corporation, and lifestyle and disease management training should be provided accordingly. An employee who exercises regularly and is fit produces more endorphins, which naturally reduces the stress level. The return for disease management and fitness through corporate wellness program is usually $6, whereas the ROI for lifestyle management is  about $0.5 per person per dollar spent by the company. The profit numbers are drastically increased if there is reduced number of absenteeism and organizational commitment that is fully dedicated to the wellbeing of each employee.

What is really required for an effective corporate smoking cessation and other corporate wellness programs is investment of time and effort. And if we talk about the money, then upon successful implementation of the program, the benefits are generally much higher than the pre-calculated ROI. There is an approximate loss of about 16% in productivity due to ill health every year. Not only can companies make huge savings by reduction on expenditure on health insurance, but a fit employee helps to increase productivity and bring in profits for the company.

 

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For more information on Optimity, evidence-based wellness strategies, or to schedule a demonstration, visit www.myoptimity.com

 

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Trista Chan is a Wellness Strategy Advisor at Optimity.  She leverages her education in nutrition and experience in corpoate health to guide organizations in building healthy, engaged employees.  Her “me-time” activities include yoga, reading health blogs, cooking….did she mention she likes wellness?  Her passion for all things health-related shines through in both her work and personal life.  

 

Sign up for Optimity to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

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