Insomnia among employees in occupations with critical societal functions during the COVID-19 pandemic
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Objective This study investigates insomnia among employees in occupations critical to the functioning of society (e.g health, education, welfare and emergency services) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these workers experience higher job pressure and increased risk of infection due to their work. It is crucial to investigate which factors that can contribute to insomnia in these important sectors. Methods Data was collected using an online survey administered in June 2020. The questionnaire measured demographic variables, sleep, stress, psychosocial factors and health concerns (i.e worrying about health consequences related to the pandemic). The sample in the present study consisted of 1327 (76% females) employees in organizations with societal critical functions. Results The employees reported higher levels of insomnia symptoms compared to normative data collected before the pandemic. Health concerns specifically related to COVID-19 had the strongest association to insomnia, followed by work stress. Job demands (i.e workload, time pressure and overtime) had merely a weak association to insomnia. Conclusion Worrying about consequences the pandemic can have on your own health and the health of your family or colleagues have a stronger negative impact on sleep than work pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Impaired sleep can have detrimental effects on performance and health, and a stronger focus on preventing insomnia as a mean of sustaining critical societal functions both during and after the pandemic is warranted. Organizations should consider interventions aimed at reducing health concerns among their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.