Is your work keeping you awake at night?

by Phil Lowe
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Work can be a stressful environment. Whether it is competition with coworkers, difficulties with clients, or a horrible boss. The fear of losing our jobs, losing out on a promotion, or losing the company money can take its toll on our mental health. It can cause considerable stress and anxiety and it is not uncommon for it to keep people awake at night. If you are being kept awake by your job then you are not alone, but you should still try and address it. 

Losing sleep over work will create a vicious cycle. If you lack sleep your performance will drop and your experience in work will only get worse. This means that whatever issues you had (maybe they were all in your head) are only likely to get worse if they are costing you sleep on a regular basis. It is important that you address it quickly. 

The good news is that you are not alone. Over 40% of people in a recent survey said they lose sleep because of work. The most common reason is the responsibilities they have providing a burden while others are losing sleep because of the long hours they work. It is interesting to note that age plays a role here. In those aged between 18 and 34, 60% of people lose sleep overwork. While of those aged over 55 only 29% lose sleep overwork. Whether this suggests that the issue is something people grow out of or a generational difference is unclear, although it is likely a combination of both.

When you have been working in a job for a long time you tend to get more comfortable and stress less. This may be one explanation of why older people don’t lose as much sleep. On the other hand, millennials appear to face greater pressures in the work environment than ever before. 

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If you are losing sleep there are a number of ways to address it. The first method to try is to make a list before going to sleep of all the things that are concerning you. Write down what solutions you can offer and what the worst-case scenario may be. Then write down a solution for each.

If the worst-case scenario is you losing your job and there is nothing you can do to help the situation then the action point may be to look at your CV and start applying to other jobs. Taking control like this will allow you to ease your mind a little as you are doing all you can. If you are being kept awake because of bad relationships in the office or other personal matters then you need to address them. Don’t let them eat away at you.
A broader approach is to realize how little your work matters. Your happiness is the most important thing and if work is impacting it then it may be time to leave. Of course, that is easier said than done. In the current economic climate, it is not easy to simply quit your job and find a new one but you can start to put the steps in place to find a better place to work.

While 40% of people are losing sleep over work, 60% are not. These 60% have the right idea and it is important that you don’t allow this lack of sleep to continue or it will impact both your personal life and work performance. No matter what happens at work it is best to never bring it home with you. Try to avoid working late from home so you can create a sense of detachment. When you leave the office you need to leave your work behind.

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