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Reciprocal relations between work stress and insomnia symptoms: A prospective study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3658-6448
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3243-0262
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
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Number of Authors: 62020 (English)In: Journal of Sleep Research, ISSN 0962-1105, E-ISSN 1365-2869, Vol. 29, no 2, article id e12949Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Work stress and poor sleep are closely related in cross-sectional data, but evidence from prospective data is limited. We analysed how perceived stress and work stressors (work demands, decision authority and workplace social support) are related to key dimensions of insomnia over time, using structural equation modelling. Biennial measurements from a large sample of the working population in Sweden enabled us to analyse both the relationship from stress to sleep as well as that from sleep to stress. Overall, we found reciprocal relations between insomnia and all four stress measures. However, looking at the relation between each dimension of insomnia and each stress measure, there were some differences in direction of effects. In the direction from stress to sleep, all work stressors as well as perceived stress predicted both difficulties initiating sleep and difficulties maintaining sleep. The same was found for non-restorative sleep, with the exception for decision authority. In the opposite direction, difficulties maintaining sleep predicted increased levels of work demands and perceived stress. Difficulties initiating sleep stood out among the insomnia symptoms as not predicting any of the stress measures, while non-restorative sleep was the only symptom predicting all stress measures. The results advance the understanding of the stress-sleep relationship and indicate a potential vicious circle between insomnia and perceived stress as well as work stressors, suggesting that the workplace could be an arena for interventions to alleviate insomnia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020. Vol. 29, no 2, article id e12949
Keywords [en]
job demands, longitudinal, nonrestorative sleep, occupational stress, psychological stress, sleep initiation and maintenance disorders
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-177589DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12949ISI: 000500238700001PubMedID: 31793085OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-177589DiVA, id: diva2:1385785
Available from: 2020-01-15 Created: 2020-01-15 Last updated: 2022-09-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Work and sleep - what's stress got to do with it?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Work and sleep - what's stress got to do with it?
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Work may affect sleep by reducing the time available for recovery and, via work stress, by reducing sleep quality. Further, people experiencing sleep disturbance may be less resistant to work stress. These processes may lead to the development of a vicious cycle between work and sleep, in which stress has a central role.

Knowledge of the prospective relations between work, stress and sleep is limited, particularly from studies examining relationships from sleep to work stress and large-scale studies using objective measures of sleep.

Consequently, this thesis aims to analyse the prospective relations, including directions of effects, between work-related factors, in particular work stress, and self-rated and objective measures of sleep.

The first two studies used the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health, with biennial self-rated measures of work-related factors (demands, control, support, stress, physical factors, scheduling) and sleep. We used structural equation models to analyse the direction of effects between work-related factors and sleep. The next two studies used the Swedish Retirement Study, a prospective study using self-reports and actigraphy, which followed people into retirement. We used multilevel modelling to analyse within-individual changes in sleep duration, timing and quality over three waves across retirement.

We observed prospective reciprocal relations between work stressors (demands, control and support), perceived stress and self-rated sleep quality. Work was associated with earlier timing of sleep and sleep deprivation of 30 minutes per night. Improvements in self-rated sleep quality after retirement were not accompanied by improvements in actigraph-measured sleep quality.

In conclusion, this thesis has demonstrated that work, stress and sleep form a vicious cycle. Interventions targeting sleep disturbance could improve people’s experience of their work environments. Likewise, interventions aiming to lower stress and increase the flexibility of work could reduce the impact of work on sleep, and thereby on health, contributing to a decent and sustainable working life.

Abstract [sv]

Sammanfattning

Arbete kan påverka sömnen både genom att minska tiden för återhämtning, och genom att arbetsrelaterad stress kan ge en försämrad sömnkvalitet. Sömnstörningar kan i sig minska motståndskraften mot stress, vilket riskerar att skapa en negativ spiral mellan arbete och sömn. 

Evidensen kring hur arbete, stress och sömn påverkar varandra över tid är bristfällig. Framför allt saknas studier om hur sömn kan påverka arbete samt större studier med objektiva sömnmått.

Avhandlingens syfte är därför att studera hur arbete, stress och sömn relaterar till varandra över tid, och effekternas riktning, där sömn mäts både med objektiva och självrapporterade mått. 

I de två första studierna användes Svenska Longitudinella studien Om Sociala förhållanden, arbetsliv och Hälsa (SLOSH) med självskattade mätningar vartannat år. Genom strukturell ekvationsmodellering (SEM) analyserade vi riktning av effekter mellan arbetsrelaterade faktorer (krav, kontroll, socialt stöd, stress, fysisk arbetsmiljö och arbetstider) och sömn över två år. I de två senare studierna användes data från den svenska Pensioneringsstudien, i vilken vi följt människor i övergången från arbete till pension och mätt deras sömn, arbetsrelaterade faktorer och hälsa. För att analysera hur arbete påverkade sömnlängd och sömnkvalitet använde vi oss av flernivåmodellering där vi jämförde deltagarna med sig själva, innan och efter pensionering. 

Vi fann att krav, kontroll, socialt stöd och upplevd stress var kopplat till självskattad sömnkvalitet över tid, i båda riktningar. Arbete kunde kopplas till tidigare uppstigande och 30 minuters kortare sömn per natt. Förbättringarna vi fann i självskattad sömn efter pension följdes inte av motsvarande förbättringar i sömn mätt med aktigrafi.

Avhandlingen visar på hur arbete, stress och sömn kan skapa en negativ spiral. I ljuset av detta skulle förbättringar av arbetsmiljö och arbetstider kunna minska stress, öka sömnlängden och förbättra sömnkvaliteten hos arbetande, samtidigt som insatser mot sömnproblem skulle kunna leda till en bättre upplevelse av arbetsmiljön – och tillsammans kunna bidra till ett anständigt och hållbart arbetsliv.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University, 2022. p. 85
Series
Stockholm Studies in Public Health Sciences, ISSN 2003-0061 ; 9
Keywords
insomnia, job stress, retirement, social jetlag, accelerometery
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-209735 (URN)978-91-8014-026-3 (ISBN)978-91-8014-027-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-11-10, lärosal 32, hus 4, Albano, Albanovägen 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-10-18 Created: 2022-09-26 Last updated: 2022-10-11Bibliographically approved

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Garefelt, JohannaPlatts, Loretta G.Hyde, MartinMagnusson Hanson, Linda L.Westerlund, HugoÅkerstedt, Torbjörn

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