ITOCHU Announces the Commencement of Verification of the Sleep Improvement Service Aimed for Health and Productivity Management

November 20, 2023

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that ITOCHU would begin using the sleep improvement service aimed at health and productivity management offered by the sleep management consortium Sleep Innovation Platform® (Masashi Yanagisawa, Chairperson; hereinafter "SIP") on November 20, 2023 and would conduct a verification for better sleep.

Because it has the fewest employees in the industry, ITOCHU proactively promotes health and productivity management, regarding the wellness of each and every one of its employees to be the foundation of the capabilities of its human resources. ITOCHU has acted as a member of the working team focused on the theme of the establishment of services for solving sleep issues with the view toward promoting health and productivity management, having joined SIP in April 2022. ITOCHU will introduce the Sleep Improvement Program in cooperation with S'UIMIN selected from the sleep improvement services for its employees working in Japan. NISHIKAWA Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Tomizawacho, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Yasuyuki Nishikawa, Chairman &CEO; hereinafter "NISHIKAWA") jointly developed the program as a leader with S'UIMIN Inc. (headquartered in Hatsudai, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; Masashi Yanagisawa, President; hereinafter "S'UIMIN")

Advance verification results

An advance verification was carried out involving 37 employees (19 men and 18 women) prior to the full-fledged introduction of the service. It revealed that about a half of them had sleep issues related to sleeping hours, quality of sleep daytime drowsiness and other matters. When employees assessed as having sleep issues had their sleep measures using an electroencephalogram using S'UIMIN InSomnograf, about a half of them were assessed as suspected to have a sleep disorder.

●A sleep situation survey*1 of 37 employees learned that 45.9% (17/37) had serious sleep issues, such as tendencies toward insomnia or sleep apnea syndrome (SAS). The survey exposed issues related to sleeping hours, quality of sleep, daytime drowsiness and other issues.
*1 An online questionnaire survey for quickly assessing the sleep situation of each respondent

●Results of a sleep electroencephalogram with S'UIMIN InSomnograf in nine of the 37 employees found that five of them were rated C or D, which are sleep improvement required or sleep disorders suspected, and about 13.5% of them had sleep issues.

Service flow (Steps 1 to 3 constitutes Sleep Improvement Program in cooperation with S'UIMIN)

STEP1  Sleep situation survey
An insomnia assessment was performed using the Athens Insomnia Scale and a questionnaire about lifestyle and presenteeism.Check items:(1) Degree of sleep improvement(2) Degree of behavioral change(3) Degree of health and productivity management

STEP2  Instant assessment results feedback
Sleeping hours and type of sleep quality are assessed, advice is given regarding lifestyle, and an  additional examination is recommended.

STEP3  Conducting of additional measurements through consulting/special devices
A variety of support/measurement services are recommended/provided based on assessment results.
• App supporting sleeping habits: Sleep Analysis App powered by Nishikawa (tentative name)
• Sleep consulting service: Nemuri no Sodansho
• Sleep risk assessment: S'UIMIN InSomnograf (5 nights)
• Sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) risk assessment: S'UIMIN InSomnograf (2 nights)

STEP4  Sleep improvement
Improvement of the sleeping environment and other living environments, bedding, diet, exercise and other lifestyle elements (e.g., smoking, drinking and bathing), and recommendation of CPAP therapy and other therapies.
ITOCHU verifies the functionality of a supplement based on the algae that is effective for improving sleep as a unique initiative.

In addition to the Virtual Office platform for cross-organizational collaboration (internal spare-time occupation program) officially introduced as a unique initiative in April 2023, ITOCHU will provide its employees with sleep issues with an algae-based sleep improving supplement (product name: Moneru) offered by Algal Bio Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Kashiwa, Chiba; Amane Kimura, Chief Executive Officer; hereinafter "Algal Bio") to verify its functionality.
ITOCHU expects these initiatives will contribute to the improvement of its employees' ability to improve health and labor productivity.

NISHIKAWA “Sleep Counseling Center” 

S'UIMIN ”InSomnograf”

Algal Bio ” Moneru”

The organizations and companies concerned

【Sleep Innovation Platform® 】 Website
The consortium aims to support the improvement of the wellness and Quality of Life (QOL) of people from the viewpoint of sleep, based on cooperation between the businesses developing sleep services and products and having contact points with consumers and academia doing cutting-edge sleep research.

【Nishikawa Co., Ltd.】 Website
In 1566, Niemon, the founder of Nishikawa, opened a mosquito net and daily necessities retail business in Omihachiman. They started to sell futons (bedding) in 1887. As a leading bedding manufacturer, NISHIKAWA proactively engages in sleep research and the development of bedding to provide a broad range of products and services that help improve the quality of sleep.

【S’UIMIN inc.】 Website
A start-up based on the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine at the University of Tsukuba (Masashi Yanagisawa, Director), a center of excellence for research into sleep science and medicine. They engage in businesses connected to ensuring the wellness of the bodies and minds of all people centered on InSomnograf, a sleep electroencephalogram service for visualizing sleep at a level comparable to medical standards.

【Algal Bio Co., Ltd.】 Website
A clean-tech start-up provides an unique algae R&D platform enabling variety of microalgae to be commercialized as wellness, food and environment solutions. This R&D platform consists of several proprietary technology and know-how such as algae strain library based on more than 20 years of scientific research at the University of Tokyo. They developed Moneru which contains Chlorella AL-0015, an original strain that helps people improve their sleep and cope with stress. It has received many awards and prizes including the CES 2023 Innovation Award. ITOCHU invested in the company in November 2022 to create future businesses based on Algal Bio's algae library in accordance with the SDGs.