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Study asks: How do different levels of job demands affect sleep?

Photo: FG Trade/iStockphoto

Tampa, FL — Job demands that are too low or too high can adversely affect workers’ sleep, say researchers, who instead recommend the Goldilocks principle of “just the right amount” to help obtain optimal sleep health.

Using data from nearly 3,000 adult workers who participated in the National Survey of Midlife in the United States, the researchers assessed five sleep health dimensions:

  • Irregularity
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Nap frequency
  • Duration
  • How long it takes the person to fall asleep (sleep onset latency

Participants also completed a questionnaire that assessed overall and five specific aspects of job demands: intensity, role conflict, work overload, time pressure and interruptions.

Findings show that moderate job demands were associated with more optimal sleep regularity and efficiency, especially among the workers with low job control. These effects were found for overall job demands as well as for specific aspects of them. As such, the researchers suggest employers ensure a fitting level of responsibilities that benefit employee sleep health.

“Alternatively, if extensive levels of job demands cannot be reduced to a moderate level, enhancing employees’ job control in these situations may be another way to promote sleep health in workers,” the researchers write. “To ensure the good health of workers, it is important to determine the most ideal levels of demands and control needed for the best working conditions and subsequent health outcomes that may be driven by sleep health.”

The study was published online in the journal Sleep Health.

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