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Alaska Sleep Education Center

Stress On the Job

Posted by Stefanie Leiter

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on May 21, 2018 8:08:00 AM

Stress and anxiety can cause a lot of wellness issues including behavioral, emotional, and physical. Some can be short term while others can be long term due to a stressful circumstance in your career.

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A number of problems can arise with a challenging project, working environment changes, switching positions, relocating, or receiving a new supervisor, stress on the job can come in waves. Your career may even need additional schooling or training which adds more pressure as you grow with the job.

There can be many signs to anxiety on the job like lacking concentration, arriving late, acting out, being apathetic, and making simple mistakes.

To sleep through the night and get the proper z’s to prepare for a new day at work, there are a number of things to think about if you suspect your job is the problem.

Work anxiety affects people of all ages so it is not just reserved for single parents, stockbrokers, police officers, or anyone holding down multiple jobs. The important thing is to get help early and often to avoid long-term side effects for your health and well-being.

By approaching each career fork in the road with a breath, a number of ideas to leave work at work can improve the quality of your home life and your sleeping habits.

  1. Getting organized. Make checklists or set reminders on your work calendar to keep up with work tasks. Prioritize each item so you can complete tasks on time to not worry about completing them at home.
  2. Relaxing music. Set the mood in your office. Purchase a small diffuser to bring some ambiance from home. Instead of listening to upbeat music try a tranquil list. Pandora and Spotify are just two options where you can find playlists to unwind while on the job.
  3. Taking your lunch. Yes, sometimes it takes more than the 40-hour work week to complete all the work. But without a break, the stress mounts. Take a walk outside, read a book, write in your journal, or meet a friend for lunch. All will offer a break for the mind.
  4. Keeping email off your phone. We are connected 24-hours-a-day for better or worse. It is the state of our society. But there is no requirement to keep your work email on your phone. Keeping it for the office will help the temptation to check email at home.
  5. Meeting coworkers. Your partner, best friend, or spouse will not understand your work issues. Find a coworker that you can befriend to become a confidant. When stressed, you will have a trusted person steps away so you do not bottle up your emotions.
  6. Finding a new job. Sometimes you can try all the best practices to keep work out of the home but if the job is not going to change or your boss is not going to stop calling after hours, it may be time to find a new job.

But none of the work strategies will improve your quality of sleep without some work at home.

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Quality Counts

Yes, you may need 7-9 hours of sleep but quality counts. It is not all about the number of minutes you are laying in bed. Several factors qualify as quality sleep.

Sleep Health, the Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, indicates the following as quality restful nights:

  • Sleeping more time while in bed (at least 85 percent of the total time)
  • Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
  • Waking up no more than once per night
  • Being awake for 20 minutes or less after initially falling asleep

With numbers at 27 percent of the population struggling to fall asleep in 30 minutes or less proves a lot of anxiety is on the minds of Americans when laying their head down on the pillow. Identifying ways to alleviate the sleep loss when first lying down may eliminate the restlessness.

Health Effects

The quality matters so that you can live a longer life. With insomnia or other ailments like restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea to name a few, other health issues can take its toll without sleep.

  • Sleep is not a state for the body to be inactive. It is a period of time the body repairs itself for the following day. And to repair itself requires quality sleep to keep the body healthy.
  • One risk often ignored is falling asleep behind the wheel. Sleep deprivation brings those on the road at risk when someone is driving after only a few hours of sleep a night which 60 percent of Americans admitted to driving while sleepy and 37 percent falling asleep at the wheel. With that high percentage, accidents are more prominent.
  • Increased blood pressure due to the higher production of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, occurs with sleep deprivation. Your immune system also suffers and cannot perform efficiently when sleep is loss.

Depression

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, those who suffer from depression or anxiety claim an increase in their anxiety due to lack of sleep with 52 percent of men and 42 percent of women stating it directly affected their ability to remain focused the next day.

Your social life can also suffer which can lead to depression or increased depression signs. Without quality sleep, the body cannot repair and becomes a state of sleep deprivation that stacks nightly. This leads to a rapid decline of behavioral response including moodiness and irritability.

The positive news is that you can control your depression and sleep problems without the need to add medications. Dr. Lara Schuster Effland, LCSW, finds practical tips for the mind and body to aid with the stress.

Reaffirming statements alone can positively alter your cognitive behavior like starting a sleep journal to write down your immediate thoughts.

Seeking Help

If you are in a pattern of sleepless nights that are negatively affecting your health, your family, or your career, connect with the Alaska Sleep Clinic for a free consultation. Our sleep medicine specialists offer the help needed to get back on track with a quality, healthy night’s sleep.

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