Rugulies R, Martin MHT, Garde AH, Persson R, Albertsen K. Deadlines at work and sleep quality. Cross-sectional and longitudinal findings among Danish knowledge workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine; 2012, 55:260–269, doi:10.1002/ajim.21022
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. 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. 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. 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.
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