Quality of Sleep May Influence Desire for Career Advancement in Women: Study

Woman with head on desk in front of laptop, next to cup of coffeeWoman with head on desk in front of laptop, next to cup of coffee
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According to a recent study from Washington State University, women are more likely to report shifts in interest in career advancement depending upon their quality of sleep.

Quality of sleep can both impact a woman’s mood and change feelings about career advancement, according to a recent study.

First published in the journal Sex Roles, the study showed data of a two-week-long survey where lead author Leah Sheppard, an associate professor in WSU’s Carson College of Business, said in the release. 

Co-authors Julie Kmec of WSU and Teng Iat Loi of University of Minnesota-Duluth studied 135 full-time U.S. employees twice a day for two consecutive work weeks, adding up to over 2,200 observations.

As part of the study, each participant noted how well they had slept and the quality of their current mood and later how they felt about reaching for increased status and responsibility at work, according to Washington State University, who led the study and issued a recent press release

Per the release, while all participants in the study reported varying sleep quality, women more often reported lowered intentions to pursue more status at work on days following a night of poor sleep, while men’s aspirations were not impacted by sleep quality.

“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.

“If their sleep is poor and reduces their positive mood, then we saw that they were less oriented toward those goals.”

According to the release, researchers can only speculate on the exact reasons behind this presumed gender variance regarding sleep’s effect on career aspiration, suspecting the connection to be a combination of both nature and nurture.

This includes the influence of stereotypes, including women being more emotional and less ambitious.

According to the release, Sheppard says these findings could harbor some good news for women who want to both advance their careers and practice wellness, citing “practical steps” like meditation to help with sleep, emotion regulation, and putting better boundaries on work hours.

“It’s important to be able to connect aspirations to something happening outside the work environment that is controllable,” Sheppard said.

“There are lots of things that anyone can do to have a better night’s sleep and regulate mood in general.”

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