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Sleep problems in older workers are linked to mental stressors: research

by Pragati Singh
sleep and stressors

A new study from the Universities of Eastern Finland and Turku has improved understanding of an under-researched problem connected to sleep among older employees. The survey comprised 2,771 Finnish municipal workers who were nearing retirement.

The study looked at how mental and physical job circumstances, stressful life events, and work-life balance influenced sleep issues in older workers. Sleep issues are linked to both job and nonwork pressures.

In another demographic survey, over half of Finnish males aged 60-69 and nearly 70% of Finnish women had sleeplessness symptoms in the previous month.

“In our investigation, we discovered four distinct components connected with mental stress.”

Physical workload and shift work, psychological workload, social and environmental nonwork adversity, and life event- and health-related nonwork adversity are all examples.” Marianna Virtanen, Professor of Psychology at the University of Eastern Finland, states

Loneliness and limited engagement with one’s neighbours are examples of social and environmental nonwork difficulties. Nonwork adversity connected to life events and health refers to a stressful occurrence in one’s life or the provision of informal care.

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“The more job and nonwork pressures each employee faced, the more sleep issues they had.”

Flexibility is a key development goal.

Work-related stress was connected with present sleep issues, but loneliness and stress related to one’s living environment predicted growing sleep problems throughout the follow-up. Sleep quality was also linked to psychosocial working situations.

“Psychosocial working circumstances were defined in this study by the contents and arrangements of work, such as chances for influence and working hours, as well as competence development and fair management.”

The research, funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund, provides information on characteristics at which development measures and interventions for older employees might be focused.

“Flexible working hours are an essential aim for growth, especially when there are stress factors in private life, such as serious sickness or death in the family, or being an informal caretaker for someone,” Virtanen adds.

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