Productivity calls for being focused, energized, and alert—so it’s no secret that sleep deprivation can have a major impact on your work. But did you ever consider whether your work might be impacting your sleep?
When there’s some kind of crisis or you’re just totally swamped, it’s normal to stay up later or get up earlier to get everything done.
But we’re not just talking about those kinds of things. Instead, we’re talking about your actual work environment. In a recent study that followed more than 5,000 employees from 63 companies for two years, published in the journal SLEEP, researchers found that several work-related factors held a significant impact on whether subjects enjoyed good sleep regularly.
Here’s a closer look at those factors, and how they may hurt your nightly snooze sessions.
1. You feel completely overwhelmed.
There’s no one type of work that’ll automatically wreck your sleep. What will? Perceiving that you have too much on your plate—and not enough time to get it all done.
Combine an overloaded task list with a clock that always seems to run out on you, and it doesn’t matter what you do for a living. You’ll feel stressed out, and will likely spend time awake at night worrying about all the stuff you still need to finish.
2. You feel like you don’t have any control.
Do you have a say over how you do your job or do you constantly feel like you’re being micromanaged? Feeling like you can make your own choices increases feelings of satisfaction with your work. But constantly having decisions made for you seems like a surefire path to sleep-wrecking unhappiness and stress.
3. You have a major role conflict.
Maybe you signed on for a job expecting to do one thing, but instead, your responsibilities morphed into something completely different. Or maybe you’ve been handed a task or project that clashes with your personal values. Both are types of role conflict, and both can cause problems.
If you feel forced to do something that makes you upset or uncomfortable, you’ll likely spend a lot of time worrying over the best course of action.
If your job description doesn’t match up with your day-to-day work, you might feel frustrated and like you’re being taken advantage of. And if you feel forced to do something that makes you upset or uncomfortable, you’ll likely spend a lot of time worrying over the best course of action.
Either way, you’re going to feel frustrated, stressed, and unhappy. All feelings more likely to result in sleepless nights.
4. Your boss isn’t supportive.
Even if you generally love your job, not every single day is fun. And some days are just plain crappy. Knowing that your boss or supervisor has your back and is there to help you can make it easier to deal.
But when the going gets tough and you don’t feel like you have that support? It can make a challenging situation feel a whole lot worse, and you might start to feel like you’re being forced to cope with the hard stuff alone. Unpleasant feelings may bring about tossing, turning and less restful slumber.
How to cope when work affects your sleep
If you feel like you practice pretty good sleep hygiene, face no major stressors in your personal life, and still experience trouble dozing off at night, take a look at your workplace. The factors above might be at least partly to blame for your no-sleep situation if so.
Perhaps consider talking with your boss, supervisor, or even someone in HR to talk about ways to ease some of the pressure.
Overwhelmed with work? Ask a coworker or supervisor for a little help prioritizing your tasks. A path to follow can help you feel like you more on task, or identify areas of improvement or delegation. Or, if you desire more support or autonomy, think about identifying your specific needs and asking how they might be met.
If you can’t get what you’re asking for, know this: Just speaking up to voice your concerns and let off some steam might help you feel a little bit better.
And remember, plenty of self-help stress relief tactics prove simple to try on your own, too. Like exercising, journaling, or just setting aside some time each day to purposefully unwind after work. Even if an overhaul your work situation (or a swift change) seems unlikely, you can make a conscious effort to change how you deal with it.