Thames Water ‘night club’ to improve sleep

Thames Water ‘night club’ to improve sleep

Fiona writes:

Last week I went with some of our team to the Thames Water ‘night club’.

Huge thanks to Aimee Cain, Thames Water’s occupational health and wellbeing manager, for hosting the group from VGC Group and Balfour Beatty. (The main photo shows me and Aimee at the event.) Our team members are working nearby: on the M4 smart motorway project for client Balfour Beatty, and on Maidenhead town centre upgrade for client Volker Fitzpatrick. We were very pleased to take part in the sleep awareness ‘night club’, looking at fatigue management and wellbeing.

I went with operations manager James Callaghan, labour manager James Burke, project manager Mark Mullan, paver Razvan Stegaru, and also James McCrossan of Balfour Beatty.

Mark, Jimmy, Razvan and James trying the electrolyte drink
Mark, Jimmy, Razvan and James trying the electrolyte drink

We followed the trail around the event and looked at various little pods or areas you could get involved in. There was a food area where we sampled kale crisps – they were very nice – and the team enjoyed an electrolyte drink to boost energy. That’s because dehydration is one of the biggest reasons for fatigue.

We all had to complete a chrono-clinic personal form to find out if you’re a morning type or an evening type – a lark or an owl. I’m a lark. That means I’m a morning person and I need to get to bed early to rise and shine.

Thames Water hosted this pop-up club during the month of June. Every Wednesday, a clinical psychologist who specialises in sleep was on hand to answer questions.

Key learnings

Jimmy, Dr Gavilroff, and James McCrossan
Jimmy Callaghan, Dr Gavriloff, and James McCrossan

We collected some great tips from Dr Dimitri Gavriloff to highlight the importance of managing fatigue. Some of them are:

  • Ideally your sleeping space should be dark and quiet.
  • Getting the light, temperature and comfort levels correct are all really important. Keep lights low for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Avoid electronic devices before bed. The blue light from phones and screens can keep you awake. It makes your body believe it is daylight and time to wake up.
  • Exercise is good for sleep and mental health.

I’m going to use the information from Dr Gavriloff to develop a new toolbox talk to help our operatives, especially those who work shifts.

Fiona Dowling
Author Fiona Dowling, wellbeing champion and mental health first-aider