How Sleep Can Help Women Succeed In The Workplace

Good quality sleep can help your brain repair from the previous day, according to the National Institutes of Health. Sleep also helps ward off chronic diseases such as dementia and heart disease. According to a new study published in the journal Sex Roles, quality sleep can also impact your career aspirations, especially if you're a woman.

The study tracked 135 full-time workers for 10 days, checking in with them twice a day for their sleep quality, mood, and career motivations. Even though men and women both reported having occasional problems with sleep, women were more affected by a poor night of sleep than men in terms of their career motivation. The researchers found that poor sleep quality significantly impacted the women's moods, and their bad moods stifled their intentions to achieve a higher status or more responsibility in their careers. Men's motivations were less affected by sleep quality, according to a news release on the study featured in WSU Insider.

Lead study author Leah Sheppard, an associate professor at Washington State University's Carson College of Business, said that poor sleep quality can thwart a woman's career goals. "When women are getting a good night's sleep and their mood is boosted, they are more likely to be oriented in their daily intentions toward achieving status and responsibility at work," Sheppard said in the news release.

Sleep impacts our emotions and work

WSU Insider notes that the researchers believed the differences between men and women in the study might have to do with how women regulate their emotions and society's expectations about workplace roles. A 2022 meta-analysis in the Journal of Vocational Behavior found that men tend to exhibit higher career aspirations than women, particularly in male-dominated industries.

A 2008 study in Group Processes & Intergroup Relations used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the differences between men's and women's emotional regulation. The study suggested that it may take less mental effort for men to regulate their emotions, and women might use positive emotions more to help balance the negativity in their experiences.

A 2008 study in the Journal of Sleep Research found that a lack of sleep can impact your mood and performance the next day. Sleep quality can also affect your workload, attitude, and emotions, according to a 2017 meta-analysis in the Journal of Applied Psychology. A 2018 study in the Academy of Management Journal found that you can improve your goal-setting and goal-striving if you get quality sleep.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that you can improve your sleep hygiene by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, including on weekends. Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and relaxing, and it's best to remove any electronics that could keep you awake.