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J Agromedicine. 2008;13(3):149-54. doi: 10.1080/10599240802371862.

Relationship between sleep loss and economic worry among farmers: a survery of 94 active saskatchewan noncorporate farms.

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Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Farm work involves seasonal peak busy periods with long hours of work and potential sleep loss. Social, technological, and economic changes, and depressed commodity prices, have resulted in financial stress. There may be a relationship between sleep loss and worry about economic conditions. The objective of this study was to examine the association between hours of sleep and worry associated with cash flow shortages and worry associated with debt among a population of farmers and their family members. One hundred and ninety-five persons from 94 active farms in two rural municipalities in west central Saskatchewan were interviewed by questionnaire. Logistic regression analyses were used to quantify associations between sleep patterns and economic concerns during peak seasons and nonpeak seasons. During peak agricultural seasons, 31.6% of owners/operators reported less than 6 hours of sleep per night compared to 6.3% during the nonpeak seasons (p< .01). A significant relationship (odds ration [OR] 3.59, confidence interval [Cl] 1.58-8.13) was observed between daily cash flow worry and impaired sleep during peak busy seasons. A large proportion of farmers surveyed suffered sleep deprivation during peak seasons, and this sleep loss appeared related to worries about cash flow that were not observed during nonpeak seasons. It is possible that sleep loss during peak busy seasons may be related to impared judgment, as shown by differential worry habits, and might also be related to the high injury rates in farmers during peak busy seasons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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