Providing a flexible schedule to employees in order to reduce work-family conflicts and improve sleep may also benefit their children, says new research. Their children are able to fall asleep faster, keep a more consistent bedtime and enjoy better sleep quality.
The findings are a result of an intervention, “Support-Transform-Achieve-Results (STAR),” which was also recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
The research focused on groups of employees who worked in the information technology division of a Fortune 500 company, which had the goal of giving employees’ more control over their schedules and providing supervisors with the tools to give proper support and understanding regarding personal and family life.
There was hope that the STAR intervention would decrease work-family conflicts and boost the health of not only the employees, but the entire company as a whole as well as their families.
All of the participants were randomly placed in the intervention or control groups, which collected data on 93 parent-adolescent pairs including sleep duration, sleep quality, night-to-night variability, and the time that it took to actually fall asleep after getting into bed.
The children in the study were between the ages of 9 and 17, which the researchers noted as a “critical age group for developing healthy sleep habits, as youth become more independent and more involved in friends, school and social activities.”
Lead study author Susan McHale and her team interviewed the children for 8 consecutive evenings before their bedtimes via phone before and after the STAR intervention, along with a home interview each month.
“These findings show the powerful effect that parents’ workplace experiences can have on their children,” said McHale in a press release. “The STAR intervention focused solely on workplace experiences, not on parenting practices. We can speculate that the STAR intervention helped parents to be more physically and emotionally available when their children needed them to be.”