Why the Work/Home Balance is Crucial for Sleep

When I was working freelance, I frequently felt conflicted between the demands of work and home. I stayed up late to meet deadlines and blurred the boundaries between my work life and home life. Given that I was working from home, and the temptation to do just a little more work on that big project was always there, it was no surprise that I often found myself conflicted and working on weekends, or weeknights long after my husband returned home from his 9 to 5. I lost sleep staying up late to get things done in the calm hours when my baby was asleep.

When my son was a little older and I took a full-time position at a local company, the work/home balance was even more tilted; my office favored employees who arrived early and stayed late, and I felt constant pressure to keep working when all I really wanted was to get home to my toddler son. I found myself struggling to get out of bed in the morning, because I’d had to fall asleep later if I wanted to have any meaningful interaction with my husband after work. I was tired, stressed and overwhelmed. 

It turns out I wasn’t alone. Plenty of people find that conflicts between work and home interfere with their sleep. Now a new study called ‘The Work, Family and Health Network Study’ analyzed participants in a three-month intervention involving randomly selected managers and employees of an information technology company. The goal was for the managers to reduce the burden of work stress, to help balance the work/home equation and hopefully assist their employees to get more sleep.

The team collected data from interviews with the participants a year after the intervention began, and also measured sleep quality and duration in each participant. The team found that those participating in the study reported greater sleep sufficiency and slept on average one hour more each week than controls who did not take part in the intervention. 

"This study shows that interventions not directly connected to sleep can help to improve sleep," states the editor-in-chief of Sleep Health, Dr. Lauren Hale. "Furthermore, these findings help to remind us that there are opportunities to create better and safe ways to improve sleep."

By reducing any tension or unnecessary stress in the work place, the ties between work and family become far less detrimental to your overall health. Finding a healthy balance is key to both your mental and physical well-being.

 

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