Sammy Nickalls
Updated August 24, 2015
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You can now officially blame your job for your lack of sleep. According to new research, your sleep habits are directly linked to what’s going on at work.

In a recent study published in the journal Sleep, researchers tested 4,827 worker bees on their sleep habits, and followed up with them after two years to learn the relationship between their sleeping patterns and their job satisfaction.

Turns out, the more demanding your job, the worse off your snooze-time.

“Higher work demands predicted disturbed sleep,” the authors wrote in the study. “In addition, disturbed sleep predicted subsequent higher work demands, perceived stress, less social support, and lower degree of control.”

In other words, it’s a bit of a catch-22: If you work too hard past your capacity, you’ll have a harder time sleeping. And if you have a harder time sleeping, your work will feel more demanding, you’ll feel more stressed, and you may have a harder time keeping your life in control. No pressure.

We all know the “good stress” — the kind of stress that you feel shortly before a big exam that makes you work harder and absorb more information. But there’s a certain kind of stress can completely mess you up—the kind that makes you feel like there’s no end to your work day, the kind that won’t let you shut down your brain because of all the things you’re expected to do the next day, the kind that totally screws with your REM. Sound familiar? Yeah, you’re job is probably way demanding.

“The results are important because they show that work demands influence stress negatively, and this link has rarely been investigated in longitudinal studies,” stated lead author and principal investigator Torbjorn Akerstedt​, a professor in the department of clinical neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. “Sleep problems are abundant in the industrialised world, and we need to know where mitigation may be most effective.”

Until the workforce changes and starts accounting for our need to sleep (yeah, right), how do we get a better night’s rest? According to the Sleep Health Foundation, it helps to wake up and go to bed at the same times every day consistently, maintaining a quiet, dark, comfortable sleep environment, steering clear of exercise right before bed, avoiding too many naps throughout the day, and getting rid of televisions in your bedroom.

“Being in brightly lit environments or the blue light of the computer can reduce evening levels of the a sleep-promoting hormone, melatonin,” the Sleep Health Foundation suggests. “Don’t fall asleep on the couch during the evening as it reduces your sleep pressure and makes it harder to fall asleep when you go to bed.”

If you’re having trouble sleeping, check out more tips on how to get that beauty sleep here. Getting that shut-eye can completely change your life.

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(Image via iStock)