Sleep and Exercise Help Mitigate Mistreatment at Work

A picture of a stressed businesswoman.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The sad reality is that a lot of people work in environments that leave them feeling stressed out. Unfortunately, that stress can easily spill over into their home lives, making it difficult for the people who live with them. But there could be a relatively simple solution to this problem. It turns out that getting enough sleep and exercise “promotes healthy brain functions needed to properly regulate emotions and behavior.”

In a study, participants who burned an extra 587 calories in a day reduced the “harmful effects of mistreatment” and avoided “carrying [it] into the home.” When people are mistreated at work, they tend to carry that with them, which impacts how they interact with spouses, children, and other cohabitants.

However, getting enough sleep in the first place, and taking about 10,900 steps in a day, mitigates the danger of “passing along” that mistreatment. It allows one to better regulate one’s emotions and realize that trouble at work is not the fault of a spouse or child.

As the first study of its kind, it does pose some interesting questions that more research will be needed to explore. But it’s something that people in toxic work environments might consider. We all know that exercise and sleep are good for us, but this research gives us an extra goal for that exercise.

While what qualifies as “enough sleep” generally varies from person to person, a goal of 10,900 steps in a day is a little more concrete in terms of exercise. The CDC and American Heart Association have both been recommending between 8,000 and 10,000 steps anyway, so if one is already taking that advice, adding a few thousand more shouldn’t be that hard.

Of course, changing one’s life to adapt to a toxic workplace might not be the best advice, but some people can’t leave such work environments. Obviously bosses and coworkers shouldn’t mistreat people, but that is unlikely to change. In the meantime though, finding ways to mitigate the effects of toxic workplaces can go a long way.

Now We Know How Much Caffeine Interferes with Sleep

chemical structure of caffeine

Sleep is complicated. We all know we need it, but many of us don’t get enough. We stay up to late or get p to early, and a lot of people depend on caffeine in order to do either of those things. Well according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, ingesting caffeine close to bed time can mess up your circadian clock, the internal system by which your body determines when it should get ready to sleep and when it should get ready to wake up.

Specifically, they performed a 49 day study with five subjects, some of whom were given caffeine pills (about 200mg) and some of whom were given placebo pills. They were also exposed to bright and low light, to see how that impacted their sleep as well. Unsurprisingly, the people who took the caffeine pills took longer to fall asleep, averaging around 40 minutes slower than normal. When the were also trying to sleep in bright light, that time got to as long as 105 minutes. Bear in mind though, even people who were taking placebo pills had their sleep delayed by up to 85 minutes while exposed to bright light.

So the takeaway from this? Avoid ingesting a lot of caffeine if you want to sleep, and turn the lights off. The study claims that a double espresso three hours before bed can mess you up. But on the plus side, this might help travellers, especially when they have to fly through multiple time zones to reach their destinations. It’s possible that the right amount of caffeine could help people adjust to gaining hours during flights, so they don’t end up going to sleep too early. Of course, we’ll need more studies to figure out how much caffeine that is, or when to take it.

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