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Scand J Work Environ Health. 2005 Aug;31(4):277-85.

Different levels of work-related stress and the effects on sleep, fatigue and cortisol.

Author information

1
National Institute for Psychosocial Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden. anna.dahlgren@ipm.ki.se

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The aim of the study was to relate different levels of work stress to measures of sleep and the diurnal pattern of salivary cortisol and subjective sleepiness.

METHODS:

Thirty-four white-collar workers participated under two different conditions. One workweek with a relatively high stress level (H) and one with a lower stress level (L) as measured through self-rated stress during workdays. The workers wore activity monitors, filled out a sleep diary, gave saliva samples (for cortisol), and rated their sleepiness and stress during one workday and one free day.

RESULTS:

During the week with stress the number of workhours increased and total sleep time decreased. Sleepiness showed a significant interaction between weeks and time of day, with particularly high levels towards the evenings of the stress week. Cortisol also showed a significant interaction, with a more flattened pattern, probably due to increased evening levels during the stress week. Stress (restlessness) at bedtime was significantly increased during the stress week.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results demonstrate that a workweek with a high workload and much stress increases sleepiness and workhours, impairs sleep, and affects the pattern of diurnal cortisol secretion.

PMID:
16161710
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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