Study: Daytime Stress Is Crushing Your Quality of Sleep

We all know that sleep is important for a healthy lifestyle, but it might be making the difference between a day of crossfire with your friends and family and a day of social harmony.

Researchers in the Department of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State found that stressors during the daytime can damage your sleep quality. Similarly poor sleep can damage your ability to have positive experiences in the daytime, creating a never-ending cycle of long-term negative impacts on one’s health.

Even though work-life balance seems to be improving for some employees, those that have a stressful day and carry that racing mind to the pillow are getting into a bad cycle that can lead to some inescapable difficulties during the day.

Researchers at Penn State proceeded to explore the actual root causes of why average people were getting terrible sleep and  having bad days. Researchers looked at data from employees in the IT industry and the extended care or nursing home industry to ensure consistency among all economic backgrounds.

In one study, they found that people in their midlife had a harder time getting to sleep and staying asleep if they perceived themselves as not having enough time with their family and general personal life. In addition, subjects who reported themselves as spending less time with their family and on their personal life had bad sleep the night before. According to the researchers, it’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

In a second study, researchers looked at people’s emotions throughout the day and examined whether or not they could predict the quality of sleep the following night. Consequently, they were able to draw a concrete link between better sleep and reduced stress.

Studies like these, although seemingly self-evident, play a large role in figuring out the proper balance between your work and personal life. The real takeaway here is to understand that a small unit of stress can snowball into something much more devastating once it begins to pervade your sleep cycle. Find ways to release your stress and give yourself a little down-time once in awhile. It’s good for you, and it’s good for everyone around you.

Photo: Flickr / Firesam!

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Written by:
Jacob is a journalism and political science student at Arizona State University. He likes to learn and write about anything that isn’t cliché. His primary interests are foreign policy, solutions to global poverty, and tech innovation. He has helped lead multiple student groups on campus that have hosted a range of speakers on international issues and has acted as moderator for a couple himself. In his free time, he likes to watch movies, read weird books, and drink offensive amounts of coffee.
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