Deadlines at work and sleep quality. Cross-sectional and longitudinal findings among Danish knowledge workers

Authors

  • Reiner Rugulies PhD, MSC, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2. Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
    3. Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
    • National Research Centre for the Working Environment, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.
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  • Marie H.T. Martin MSc,

    1. National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2. Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Anne Helene Garde PhD,

    1. National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Roger Persson PhD,

    1. National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2. Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Karen Albertsen PhD

    1. Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2. TeamArbejdsliv, Valby, Denmark
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  • Disclosure statement: The authors report no conflict of interest.

Abstract

Background

Exposure to deadlines at work is increasing in several countries and may affect health. We aimed to investigate cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between frequency of difficult deadlines at work and sleep quality.

Methods

Study participants were knowledge workers, drawn from a representative sample of Danish employees who responded to a baseline questionnaire in 2006 (n = 363) and a follow-up questionnaire in 2007 (n = 302). Frequency of difficult deadlines was measured by self-report and categorized into low, intermediate, and high. Sleep quality was measured with a Total Sleep Quality Score and two indexes (Awakening Index and Disturbed Sleep Index) derived from the Karolinska Sleep Questionnaire. Analyses on the association between frequency of deadlines and sleep quality scores were conducted with multiple linear regression models, adjusted for potential confounders. In addition, we used multiple logistic regression models to analyze whether frequency of deadlines at baseline predicted caseness of sleep problems at follow-up among participants free of sleep problems at baseline.

Results

Frequent deadlines were cross-sectionally and longitudinally associated with poorer sleep quality on all three sleep quality measures. Associations in the longitudinal analyses were greatly attenuated when we adjusted for baseline sleep quality. The logistic regression analyses showed that frequent deadlines at baseline were associated with elevated odds ratios for caseness of sleep problems at follow-up, however, confidence intervals were wide in these analyses.

Conclusions

Frequent deadlines at work were associated with poorer sleep quality among Danish knowledge workers. We recommend investigating the relation between deadlines and health endpoints in large-scale epidemiologic studies. Am. J. Ind. Med. 55:260–269, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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