You could sleep better if you're nice to your work colleagues -- or worse if you aren't

  • Being pleasant to people at work has a number of benefits.
  • Another to add to the list is it can make you sleep better.
  • New research has shown that people stress about their work behaviour when they are at home in bed.
  • If they do this often, it can lead to insomnia.

Some people are fortunate enough to call their colleagues their friends. Others aren’t so lucky.

Whatever your situation, it makes sense to be nice to the people you work with, because it means they’re more likely to help you out. Also, it makes the working day more enjoyable.

According to new research, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, behaving well at work also has another surprising benefit – it can help you sleep better.

Researchers from the University of Iowa asked 600 workers in the US and China about their workplace behaviour and sleep quality in three studies.

In two of the studies, the employees reported their counterproductive work behaviours over ten work days, such as inappropriate behaviour, anger, aggression, gossiping, and blaming others. They also reported how they felt when off work and how well they slept.

Results showed how being more counterproductive at work made people think about work in the evening, which could lead to insomnia.

In the third study, employees had to recall how they behaved at work in the past. Those who were asked to think back to bad behaviour had more trouble falling asleep than those who reminisced about more routine things.

Overall, the researchers concluded that acting badly at work significantly affected participants’ thoughts in the evening, which in turn caused problems sleeping.

“After people engage in bad workplace behaviours, they come to realise such bad deeds threaten their positive moral self-image, which creates stress,” said Zhenyu Yuan, a management and organisations doctoral student at UI, and lead researcher of the study. “As a result, they may keep ruminating over their stress from work, and thus have trouble falling and staying asleep at night.”

He added that managers could help reduce counterproductive behaviours of their staff, as employees who don’t get enough sleep are less engaged, less productive, and have an increased risk of getting injured.

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