Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Unexpected Workplace Hazard: Bullying is Associated with Sleep Disturbances

A study published today in the journal Sleep shows that workplace bullying, one of the leading job stressors and major causes of suicide, is also related to sleep disturbances. Findings of the study are important, as people who do not get enough sleep are at a higher risk for developing health and psychological problems.

The study, performed in 2004 in southeast France, included a random sample of 3,132 men and 4,562 women with an average age of 40 years. Participants reported whether or not they believed they had been exposed to bullying over the past 12 months.

Results showed a high prevalence of workplace bullying, with 11 percent of women and nine percent of men experiencing “hostile behavior” at their jobs at least weekly and for at least six months during the past 12 months.

Sleep disturbances - defined as either trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night – were reported by 22 percent of women and 17 percent of men, who had “some or a great deal of trouble” sleeping.

“Our study underlines the need to better understand and prevent occupational risk factors, such as bullying, for sleep disorders,” study author Dr. Isabelle Niedhammer told the AASM.

According to the AASM, a sleep disturbance that is caused by a specific stressor is known as adjustment insomnia. People with adjustment insomnia may feel anxious and depressed; they also may suffer from muscle tension and headaches.

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