A bad night's sleep might mean a really bad day at the office the next day.
A new study suggests lack of sleep or insomnia not only makes you cranky and irritable, it may also greatly affect your job satisfaction.
Researchers found men and women who suffered from insomnia were more likely to say they disliked or even hated their job the next day. The effect was more pronounced in women than in men.
"It's intuitive that one might feel a little irritable, but to experience emotional spillover to the point of actually feeling less satisfied with work is a little surprising," says researcher Brent Scott, a graduate student assistant in management at the University of Florida, in a news release.
Researchers say the results suggest employers should think twice about having employees work long hours if they want to keep them happy and less likely to jump ship.
"We know from other research that people who are dissatisfied with their jobs leave organizations at higher rates than those who are happy and committed to their jobs," says Scott.
Job Satisfaction And Insomnia
Researchers say sleep is necessary to restore and refresh the body and mind. But how it affects emotions and attitudes isn't clearly understood.
In the study, scheduled for publication in the October issue of the Journal of Management, researchers surveyed 45 employees of a southeastern regional office of a large national insurance company. The average age of participants was about 36.
Each day for three weeks in February 2005, the employees logged onto a Web site and rated their level of job satisfaction at the end of the workday. They also answered questions about sleep problems and emotions they were feeling.
The results showed employees reported higher levels of job satisfaction if they had slept soundly the night before, and lower levels if they had experienced insomnia.
The study also showed that women were more likely to report insomnia on any given night. But more importantly, researchers found women were also more sensitive to insomnia's effects on job satisfaction and emotions.
For example, women's fatigue, attentiveness, and joviality were more affected by insomnia than were men's.
"These differences may have something to do with society's expectations for men and women," says Scott. "Women are encouraged to be nurturing and more emotionally expressive than men, who have been taught to remain stoic and restrain their emotions."
Researchers say the findings suggest that individuals and their employers should take steps to improve quality of sleep to improve job satisfaction as well as overall well-being.
Other studies suggest people can improve their quality of sleep by exercising regularly, limiting their consumption of caffeine and alcohol, and improving their sleep habits.
Sources: Scott, D. Journal of Management, scheduled for publication in the October 2006 issue. News release, University of Florida.
By Jennifer Warner
Reviewed by Louise Chang, M.D.
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