Better sleep equals higher productivity

  • Holly Paiva wants to help company employees sleep better (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

    Holly Paiva wants to help company employees sleep better (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

  • Holly Paiva wants to help company employees sleep better (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

    Holly Paiva wants to help company employees sleep better (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

  • Holly Paiva wants to help company employees sleep better (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

    Holly Paiva wants to help company employees sleep better (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Ever dozed off in the middle of an important office meeting, or found yourself drinking endless rounds of coffee just to stay awake until lunch time?

Sleep scientists estimate that 35 per cent of people accidentally nod off at work, each month.

And that could be really costing the companies they work for.

“If people aren’t sleeping enough, they tend to make more mistakes and call in sick more,” said Holly Paiva, owner of sleep and reflexology company Dreaming Bermudian. “There is a loss of revenue due to that, but also on a long-term scale, lack of sleep may create other illnesses, like cancer, diabetes, and obesity. If you have this healthy sleep regime, then you are more likely to be happy, healthier and more successful.”

Ms Paiva feels that although a lot of companies have wellness programmes that look at things like physical fitness and health, there’s not enough talk about the quality of employee sleep.

“Sleep is a pillar of wellness,” she said. “The average person spends a third of their life asleep.”

In May, Ms Paiva partnered with Shleep, a Dutch start-up that helps companies increase productivity by improving the quality of employee sleep. They do this through workshops, expert advice and a sleep coaching app also called Shleep.

“I came across an article about them a year and a half ago,” Ms Paiva said. “I thought it sounded incredible. I read the statistics behind the research. I said wow, I would like to be involved in this.”

Shleep, run by doctors and neurologists, was started by Dutch sleep experts Els van der Helm and Jöran Albers, four years ago. Since then it has picked up high-profile UK-based clients such as Facebook, Spotify and Deloitte.

When Ms Paiva contacted Shleep, they told her they’d never considered Bermuda as a client, but were willing to give it a go. “I am now working as an outside sales rep for Shleep,” she said.

It’s her job to approach local companies and introduce them to the Shleep concept. If they are interested in signing up for the programme, she passes them onto Shleep representatives. Someone from the Shleep team would conduct any workshops.

When she first started promoting Shleep the timing was a little challenging.

“It was the beginning of summer,” she said. “Lots of people were away. Now, at this time of year, I think there is more interest.”

Shleep’s target clientele are companies with 40 employees or more, but they are working on programmes for smaller companies and individuals.

“Individuals can always download the Shleep App,” Ms Paiva said.

The cost depends on what the company requires from Shleep.

“There are different options to choose from,” Ms Paiva said. “It is not just one set programme. They tend to work with what the company needs.”

Her own interest in sleep has been life long. As a child she suffered from insomnia.

“Somehow it turned around,” she said. “I couldn’t tell you exactly when, but I developed a fascination with sleep and dreams. After my undergraduate degree I worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in sleep medicine for five years. Then I designed a programme to specifically get a master’s in sleep and dream studies, at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At the same time, I did reflexology so that I had a tool to help insomniacs.”

She became a reflexologist in 2005, but says today out of all her reflexology clients, only one has insomnia-related issues.

“You talk to people about what you have a degree in, and people are like whoa, what do you do with that?” she said. “That’s why I went more into the sleep disorders, researching and writing about sleep apnoea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome.”

The sleep part of Dreaming Bermudian now involves helping people create a good sleep environment.

“You have to make sure you have a good bedtime routine,” she said. “We tend to sleep better when the temperature is low between 65F and 68F.”

She advises people to put away their electronics at bedtime. Even digital clocks can emit a light that can interfere with circadian rhythms.

For more information call 535-4796, or e-mail or see

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Published Oct 7, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 6, 2019 at 8:01 pm)

Better sleep equals higher productivity

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