There is limited knowledge about the prospective relationship between major work characteristics (psychosocial, physical, scheduling) and disturbed sleep. The current study sought to provide such knowledge.
Prospective cohort, with measurements on two occasions (T1 and T2) separated by two years.
Naturalistic study, Sweden.
There were 4,827 participants forming a representative sample of the working population.
Measurements and Results:
Questionnaire data on work factors obtained on two occasions were analyzed with structural equation modeling. Competing models were compared in order to investigate temporal relationships. A reciprocal model was found to fit the data best. Sleep disturbances at T2 were predicted by higher work demands at T1 and by lower perceived stress at T1. In addition, sleep disturbances at T1 predicted subsequent higher perception of stress, higher work demands, lower degree of control, and less social support at work at T2. A cross-sectional mediation analysis showed that (higher) perceived stress mediated the relationship between (higher) work demands and sleep disturbances; however, no such association was found longitudinally.
Higher work demands predicted disturbed sleep, whereas physical work characteristics, shift work, and overtime did not. In addition, disturbed sleep predicted subsequent higher work demands, perceived stress, less social support, and lower degree of control. The results suggest that remedial interventions against sleep disturbances should focus on psychosocial factors, and that such remedial interventions may improve the psychosocial work situation in the long run.
Åkerstedt T, Garefelt J, Richter A, Westerlund H, Magnusson LL, Sverke M, Kecklund G. Work and sleep—a prospective study of psychosocial work factors, physical work factors, and work scheduling. SLEEP 2015;38(7):1129–1136.