Sleep and career have been the subject of close attention and concern by scholars and theorists all over the world; however relationships between them were not always evaluated. Sleep studies have focused on analysis of habits, personal factors and environmental factors affecting the sleep of children, youngsters, adults and seniors, as well as of associated pathologies. In turn, career studies have examined their development in terms of life cycle and different stages of life, assuming the existence of different phases, tasks and steps.
Currently the relationship between these concepts has been the target of a steep investment, although it is still difficult to assume its bidirectionality, i.e. sleep influences the career, the same way as career influences sleep.
As regards the direction of the first relation, i.e. between sleep and career, prior studies have evaluated sleep issues in professionals from different areas. Some of the participants involved are navy or army officers, emergency nurses, the hosts and all employees who, in general, are involved in activities that result in shift work and, for this reason, foster timetables (duration) and routines (regularity) very diversified. It is known that when duration, regularity and autonomy of sleep are not suitable, effects can arise in terms of health (e.g., fatigue), cognitive functioning (e.g., difficulties in attention, concentration, and memorization), mood (e.g., irritability, depression), learning, performance and productivity, promotions and quality of life (e.g.., lower levels of life satisfaction).
Regarding the direction of the second relation, i.e. between career and sleep, the previous studies are scarce. Despite this, some have evaluated the impact of different careers and lifestyles resulting in sleep patterns. These studies have been developed with participants such as caregivers, students and dual-career couples. At this level there is a central concern associated with the balance/conflict between the different roles of life, i.e., the way in which the conciliation or not between multiple roles of life (e.g., being a mother, be hardworking, and have social and recreational life) can lead to problems in sleep patterns. On the other hand, the stage of career development (e.g., exploration, settlement, decline), more oriented to exploration, the progression, the maintenance or the reform, in which the person is also may influence sleep issues, notably leading to long periods of sleep deprivation. Furthermore, aspects such as availability for work requirements, conflicts, stress, burnout, mobbing and competitiveness are associated with a poor quality of sleep.
From here it follows that, if a good night prepares us effectively to face with greater provision, interest and experience personal and professional life, in turn a good day is crucial to promote the necessary conditions for a peaceful night's rest.
Joana Carneiro Pinto
Counselling in Professional orientation and Career Management at Sleep Medicine Center - CENC