Nicole Ratcliffe , a Manchester mum of 2, and Founder of The Workplace Sleep Coach and Baby2Sleep was left speechless to have won a Woman Who Achieves Award for the work she is doing to change the way parents and people struggling with sleep are supported in the workplace.

The Woman Who Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in business throughout the UK and were set up in 2016 by Sandra Garlick MBE with a mission to create more women in business role models to inspire others. The 2024 awards were held in the Marquee at Coombe Abbey Hotel. These were the 9th Annual Awards.

Nicole, a parent and workplace sleep specialist said: “Winning this award feels like the start of people hearing my voice and recognising the serious impact that sleep deprivation and its consequences can have on people struggling in the workplace.

When more women than ever are turning to self-employment, potentially due to the poor support for mums in the workplace, (around 54,000 new mums leave the workforce each year in the U.K.), more needs to be done by businesses to understand the need to support parents who want both a career and to be an involved parent in order to help close the gender pay and career gap, retain top talent and be a truly family friendly employer.

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture for a reason, and my research has shown that 62% of parents have said their baby didn’t start sleeping well enough for them to function safely in work until at least 18 months, with 22% saying it took until after 3 years old. Breaking The Silence: Revealing the Truth about Parenting and the Workplace. 

When it is believed that around 20% of road traffic accidents worldwide are caused by sleep deprivation, employers have to start looking at the basic support they offer to parents and carers who may be having difficulties with sleep.  My latest research has shown that 69% of people are taking their work stresses home which is potentially impacting sleep. (Research results due to be published in summer 2024). Sleep is the foundation for good mental and physical health, productivity and efficiency in work.”

Sandra Garlick hopes winning the award will help towards Nicole achieving her mission and said this: “Nicole is a role model on a mission to make a difference, using her own experiences to implement change. I hope that by winning this Award it helps in some small way to achieving her mission.” Sandra Garlick MBE Founder of Woman Who

The judges who chose Nicole to be one of their winners and said;

“In the infancy of her business, Nicole impressed us with her dedication in wanting to be a change maker. Through her own negative experience in the workplace, of sleep deprivation after having her baby, Nicole embarked on a journey to research and highlight not only the huge cost of sleep deprivation to businesses, but also help businesses better support sleep deprived parents.”

Nicole says; “This issue isn’t going to just go away. With a broken NHS, the cost of living crisis and an underfunded mental health service, sleep is becoming a bigger problem by the day, with an estimated 1 in 3 adults struggling with sleep. Poor sleep is already costing the UK economy around £50 billion a year, the equivalent of over 200,000 working days. Employers need to start implementing strategies to support and improve sleep which will naturally lead to improving mental health and wellbeing and bring more money into the economy.” Companies who are leading the way and have already utilised Nicole’s services include John Lewis Partnership and Atlanta Group.

Nicole offers a range of services to businesses from group training, online courses, sleep awareness for managers, and deep dives into the policies surrounding sleep, health and safety and more. To speak to Nicole to see how she can help your business, email hello@nicoleratcliffe.co.uk

Photo credits John Cleary