Does the stress of work truly impact our sleep? Researchers in Sweden say that the findings of their new study indicates a relationship between job strain and disturbed sleep. Additionally, work interventions to help employees sleep better may improve overall work satisfaction.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that a total of 4, 827 participants were used in the study with a mean age of 48. The research including analyzing data from the 2008 and 2010 Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health, as well as comparing information obtained national register data such as age, sex and socioeconomic status.
Led by Torbjörn Akerstedt and lead author Johanna Garefelt, the research team used the Karolinska Sleep Questionnaire (KSQ) to identify disturbed sleep—defined as trouble falling asleep, nighttime awakenings, restless sleep and/or waking up too early. Social support, control at work, and work demands were also measured.
During the two-year follow-up, higher work demands were associated with more disturbed sleep. Plus, a lower degree, less social support, higher work demands and a higher perception of stress all could predict how likely a person is to experience sleep disturbances.
However, no relationship was found between disturbed sleep and physical work environment, shift work schedules or working hours.
“The results are important because they show that work demands influence stress negatively, and this link has rarely been investigated in longitudinal studies,” said Akerstedt. “Sleep problems are abundant in the industrialized world, and we need to know where mitigation may be most effective.”
You can read more details about this fascinating research in the journal Sleep.