April 23 (UPI) -- Workers' difficulty sleeping was linked to rude behavior by others while on the job, including verbal abuse, according to a survey of U.S. Forest Service employees.
Researchers surveyed 699 employees of the agency, asking them to rate the level of rude behavior, the frequency of negative thoughts about work, insomnia symptoms and the ability to relax after a bad day. The findings were published Monday in the the American Psychological Association's Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.
"Sleep quality is crucial because sleep plays a major role in how employees perform and behave at work," Dr. Caitlin Demsky, a researcher at Oakland University, said in a press release. "In our fast-paced, competitive professional world, it is more important than ever that workers are in the best condition to succeed, and getting a good night's sleep is key to that."
Negative work issues may also be linked to cardiovascular diseases, increased blood pressure and fatigue, according to the authors.
The researchers noted that up to 98 percent of U.S. employees have experienced uncivil behavior in the workplace.
"Victims of incivility are more likely to decrease their work effort, organizational commitment, and the amount of time spent at work, all of which have implications for organizational performance," the researcher wrote. "Although several studies have indicated a range of negative outcomes associated with workplace incivility, much less is known regarding the mechanisms through which workplace incivility negatively influences both work and nonwork outcomes. There also remains a lack of understanding regarding resources that can mitigate the harmful effects of workplace incivility."
The respondents, who averaged 49 years old, were asked about number of children under 18 living at home, hours worked weekly and frequency of alcoholic drinks. These issues have been linked with sleep issues in past research.
Among those studied, 41 percent were classified as supervisory.
In the study, they found rude or negative behavior at work, including being judged or verbally abused, was associated with more symptoms of insomnia. But they found people who could do something to relax after recover, including yoga, music listening or walking, had better sleep.
"Incivility in the workplace takes a toll on sleep quality," Demsky said. "It does so in part by making people repeatedly think about their negative work experiences. Those who can take mental breaks from this fare better and do not lose as much sleep as those who are less capable of letting go."
The authors also suggested that employers reduce workplace incivility.