New Research Suggests Being A Bad Coworker Can Negatively Impact Your Sleep

Are you aware of how you treat your officemates at work? It might be time to check your attitude and start playing nice (if you aren’t already) for the sake of your sleep, experts advise.

A series of studies conducted by a research team at the University of Iowa revealed that bad coworkers—defined as people who tend to act aggressively or are quick to blame others—were more likely than well-behaved coworkers to report having trouble sleeping at night.

In two studies, more than 600 workers in both the U.S. and China were asked to report their “counterproductive work behaviors” (CWB) over a 10-day span. CWBs included things such as “inappropriate behaviour, anger, aggression, gossiping, and blaming others,” according to Business Insider. Participants were also asked to report how they felt when they were not working and how they slept. In the third study, employees were asked to think back to how they’d acted at work in the past.

[Editor’s Note: The information provided should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a sleep doctor or other medical expert if you have questions related to your own health.]

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Poor Work Behavior Linked to Poor Sleep

Results from all three studies found that people who reported behaving badly at the office also reported focusing on their behavior after work and in the evening, leading to trouble falling asleep or even insomnia, according to the study.

“After people engage in bad workplace behaviors, 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 the University of Iowa 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.”

According to a release from the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, “the researchers say that as insomnia is becoming a public health concern, the research highlights the important role of workers’ own behaviors in creating problems for their own sleep health.”

The team behind the studies recommends that managers “take effective measures” to lessen bad behavior in the workplace.

According to the business school’s release, suggestions include addressing workplace behavior issues during performance reviews. “For example, in the performance review process, management should not only specify not-to-dos, but also thoroughly explain the underlying logic of the not-to-dos from a moral perspective,” researchers said.

Being a bully at work isn’t the only reason employees seem to be losing sleep. A recent survey conducted in the American workplace found that 44 percent of employees lose sleep stressing or feeling overwhelmed about work.

[Editor’s Note: The information provided should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a sleep doctor or other medical expert if you have questions related to your own health.]

RELATED: Doing One Fun Thing After Work Could Help You Sleep

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Katie Golde

Katie manages the day to day operations of the Mattress Clarity news site and reviews sleep products in addition to writing and editing sleep news.She hails from Austin, where she lives with her growing family. She has a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and has a background in health and science content. Her work can be found in print and online publications like Discover Magazine, USA Today and The Huffington Post.

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