Interview with Marlee Boyle of Sleep Culture
Tell us about Sleep Culture Consulting Services. How did you come up with the idea?
After working for years in a sleep disorder clinic and recognizing that generally, people had a very limited understanding of the importance of sleep (unless they end up at a sleep disorder clinic), we created Sleep Culture to help fill that gap. We wanted to educate and empower people to take control of their sleep before it turns into chronic issues or manifests as other health issues which is often the case.
What sort of qualifications do you look for in your sleep consultants?
A healthcare professional with a minimum designation in the healthcare field (psychology, nursing, respiratory therapists etc.) with a passion for preventative care and a drive to continue learning and helping people – they have to love sleep! One of the obstacles of the sleep industry is that there is no regulatory body in Canada – we follow the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. That being said, we look for individuals who have a passion for self-directed learning and who want to do the work to develop their careers in sleep.
What do the stats say about sleep deprivation and its impacts?
We know that 1 in 3 Canadians are not getting enough sleep & Canada is losing approximately $21.4 billion annually due to a sleep-deprived workforce. Insufficient quality sleep is associated with many physiological and psychological outcomes, including poor memory, accidents, health complaints, and absenteeism in the workplace. A single sleepless night can lead to a 30% surge in emotional stress levels which will affect how we interact with our co-workers, friends & family; how productive we are, and our ability to retain information and make decisions. If people who normally get 4-5 hours of sleep per night were to start getting 6 – 7 hours, the result could potentially boost our economy by $12B annually.
What are the biggest challenges people face in trying to get the proper amount of sleep?
Stress. Stress can negatively impact sleep, and poor sleep can further perpetuate stress. We’ve developed a corporate presentation that focuses on how to break the cycle of poor sleep and stress to address this pervasive problem in some corporate cultures. Another obstacle to getting proper sleep is the culture of sleep in our society. We’ve placed a status of strength on those who willingly forgo sleep and weakness on those who choose to prioritize sleep as the foundation of wellbeing. Science continually proves that the “ya snooze, ya lose” mindset is factually inaccurate and potentially harmful to our workforce. Sleep makes us more efficient, healthy, accurate, and productive, despite the decades of a misinformed corporate culture. I think this question would be great to add education, taking sleep for granted (even though we sleep every night, we just take it for granted. It’s not focused on in elementary or high school and barely even touched on in medical school. We are also just starting to really understand the power/magnitude that sleep has on all of our systems – what an exciting time to help with this movement.
What are the biggest benefits of improved sleep?
Improved quality of life! The quality of our sleep has been shown to be the biggest lifestyle behavior that influences our well-being and predictor of depression. Sleep makes us more physically and mentally resilient, which is essential to getting through a global pandemic.
How do you plan to market your services given the challenges of getting your message out to the masses?
One of the advantages of working in sleep is that everybody does it, and everyone can benefit from some sleep education regardless of where they work. That being said, there are still organizations that are not ready for this sleep revolution. Our focus has been on the companies that truly value health and wellness for their teams. Our clients understand the importance of sleep and the value that a positive sleep culture will bring to their organizations and the personal daily lives of their employees as well.
What brought you joy this week?
It’s finally Sping! The sun has been shinning every day and I have enjoyed taking nice long walks with my dog, Howie.