Personal Finance

Almost half of professionals lose sleep over work

Key Points
  • Work woes include having too much to do or fear of being fired.
  • Here are some tips to prevent the office from ruining your night.
Martti Salmela | E+ | Getty Images

Many people are bringing work into bed with them.

More than 40 percent of professionals report they often lose sleep because they can't get their job off their minds, according to a survey of 2,800 people by global staffing firm Accountemps.

"If you're not sleeping, you're going to have lower productivity, health issues and work-life balance issues," said Bill Driscoll, district president of Accountemps.

The most common work-related issue disrupting people's slumber is an overwhelming feeling about their job's responsibilities or hours.

Many people also say they stay up fixating on a business problem or worrying about their relationships with their co-workers. Some people say it's a fear of being fired that leaves them staring at the ceiling. Others blame their boss for their sleeplessness.

Nearly 60 percent of young people (between the ages of 18 and 34) report losing sleep over work, compared with just 29 percent of people over the age of 55. And women are less likely to let work keep them up (40 percent) than men (50 percent).

Sleep Factor
Sleep Factor

The study also found that people in Miami, Nashville and New York are more likely to stay up in the wee hours thinking about work. Meanwhile, people in Cleveland, Philadelphia and Minneapolis seem to sleep more soundly, sans preoccupations of bosses and deadlines.

What you can do 

An hour before you plan to sleep, make a physical list of the problems at work that are causing you stress, said Dr. Chris Winter, author of "The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It."

"Most people's fears are out of their control and somewhat irrational. Technically, we're all in danger of being fired," Winter said. "Seeing them on paper can help significantly to put them in perspective."

Resist the urge to jump on your laptop at 3 a.m. and start "putting out fires," Winter said. Your work in those hours is unlikely to be your best and "the light from the computer and stress will condition you to awaken."

Try to realize the issues on your list that can be addressed, he said.

If you're worried that you might be fired, for example, have an updated resume that you are proud of along with a plan of action in your arsenal.

Make time for co-workers if you feel those relationships could benefit from strengthening. "If you have too much work," Winter said, "tell your boss it's too much for one person."

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