These days, our work and home environments are blending more than ever, and the consequences of it may be that many people just aren’t getting as much rest as they need.
A new study shows that people who are on call need rest and recovery almost as much as people who have just been working, which may have serious implications for work, rest, and recovery in our modern economy.
The Stress of Being On-Call
The study showed that workers who were on-call and were actually called had the highest stress levels and needed the most recovery time. But even those who were not called experienced significantly elevated stress over those who were not on-call. Other significant factors that contributed to the need for recovery included high work demands, poor mental health, and high interference between work and family.
The Implications for the Modern Workplace
The study focused specifically on workers who were formally on-call for their job, but this is only one of many possible arrangements where people might be experiencing the demands of work during off-hours. Working from home is one way that work blends into home time, but it’s even more common than that. With the adoption of smartphones, people often have access to their work emails 24 hours a day, which means that they are often on-call to a limited extent at any time of night or day. This informal on-call arrangement means that being on-call has passed from being an unusual mode of work (the study says 1 in 6 workers in Europe are on-call–US numbers are likely similar) into the norm for essentially everyone.
The effect of this, then, is that people need even more restorative sleep than in the past, though we are less likely to get it.
Make Your Sleep Count
With everyone needing more rest and recovery, it’s vital that we make our sleep hours count for the most we can. This means that of course you want to get your sleep apnea treated. Sleep apnea will make your sleep not restorative and will rob you of the precious rest and recovery you need.
But making the most of your sleep also means that you can’t tolerate the nuisance of a sleep apnea treatment that makes it hard for you to sleep and get your restorative rest. If the minor (and major) nuisances of CPAP make it hard for you to sleep, you need another sleep apnea treatment that will let you rest and recover. For some people, oral appliances make a much more comfortable sleep apnea treatment option.