Working Yourself to Sleep

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • Many things make a difference to how long and how well we sleep. Sleep disorders (sleep apnea, insomnia,) stress, poor sleep hygiene, or just a bedroom that's too hot, too cold or too light - any of these things can disrupt your sleep. Now Statistics Canada has released new research that shows that employment and lifestyle have a direct effect on the length and quality of our sleep.


    Lack of sleep, on the other hand, affects our work and our lifestyle. "When we don't get enough sleep, our productivity and behavior are affected," reads the report. "This impacts the quality of work we do and the quality of our family and personal life at home."

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    Those with higher incomes tend to sleep less because of their busy lifestyles. So do full-time workers. Commuting also has an effect on our sleep, cutting down on the amount of time we have for other activities.


    Men sleep less than women do. Single people sleep more than couples, perhaps because of a reduction of stress - or maybe because they have the whole bed to themselves. For couple, the addition of children adds to the problem. 


    Another study, this one by University of Michigan researchers, also considers work and sleep. According to Sarah Burgard, an assistant professor of sociology and an assistant professor of epidemiology, "Together, work and sleep take up about two-thirds of every weekday. But until now, very little research has focused on the connections between work and sleep for the average U.S. worker."


    This study focused on the conditions found in the workplace that had the ability to affect sleep. Conflicts with bosses or co-workers cause psychological stress. Unlike physical strain that leads to restorative sleep, psychological stress tends to have the opposite affect, and causes disrupted sleep.


    "Massive changes over the past half-century have reshaped the workplace, with major implications for sleep. For many workers, psychological stress has replaced physical hazards," Burgard said.


    You may be wondering why all the fuss about getting enough sleep. To anyone who's sleep deprived, the answers should be obvious. Your concentration is shot, your irritable, you fall asleep at work or watching TV or ... well, just about anywhere.


    If you don't start getting more sleep, these conditions will only worsen, and your immune system will become weak. What this means is you'll catch more colds and be susceptible to more serious diseases.


    Sure, you want to be the best at your job, but putting in long hours of overtime at the cost of your sleep and health is not the way to do it. Try to avoid work-related stress. Practice good sleep hygiene and learn to -put yourself and your sleep first.


Published On: May 08, 2008