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Importance of quality sleep on work performance

I write this From the Editor while working remotely in São Miguel, Azores. For those of you unfamiliar with this area, the Azores are nine major islands composing the Portuguese archipelago in the “North Atlantic Ocean, located about 1,500 km (930 mi) from Lisbon and approximately 3,900 km (2,400 mi) from the east coast of North America” [1]. From Boston, Massachusetts where I live, it’s an approximate 41/2 hour non-stop flight. I have fallen in love with this beautiful area of the world and try to visit as often as possible. During this current seven-day visit, I gave myself a work-life balance goal of improving the quality of my sleep. I have an early morning chronotype, which means that I tend to be naturally alert and active during the early hours of the day, but I also go to bed relatively late due to work demand; typically sleeping five hours. As the evidence-based research supports, sleep is essential for maintaining physical health, cognitive function, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life [2–4]. As stated by Leong and Chee, “the restorative function of sleep is shaped by its duration, timing, continuity, subjective quality, and efficiency” [2, p. 27]. Sleep can have a significant impact on work performance in areas such as productivity, creativity, innovation, cognitive function, emotional regulation, safety, interpersonal relationships, absenteeism, presenteeism, job satisfaction, and engagement [2]. Given these areas, a workplace that focuses on wellbeing can offer their workers flexible work schedules and education on the importance of sleep among other strategies.

The Editors Choice paper of this issue is Evaluating the effect of daytime sleepiness and sleep quality on balance, fatigue and life quality of shift workers authored by Doğan and Bayram. As I began this column about sleep, I thought this paper was quite relevant to my own goal of improving my quality of sleep. This paper investigated the relationship between daytime sleepiness and sleep quality on balance, physical activity level, fatigue, and quality of life in shift and non-shift workers. The study found that as the “ . . .  daytime sleepiness of individuals working in shifts and non-shifts increased, their quality of life decreased” and “ . . .  individuals working in shifts compared to individuals working without shifts experienced higher levels of daytime sleepiness and fatigue severity level while sleep quality and physical activity level were lower.”

This issue contains 25 papers on topics such as carpal tunnel syndrome, workplace spirituality, stroke survivors’ long-term participation in paid employment, workplace violence, work intensification among other topics. It also includes a Sounding Board paper on obesity by editorial board member Dr. Jennifer Phillips and a Return to Work Corner column on customized employment by Inge et al.

I hope you are enjoying our Learn at WORK podcast episodes. Each monthly episode provides a snapshot into the careers of authors who have published in WORK and/or Editorial Board members. Some of these guests include Drs. Matheson, Shaw, Rice, Phillips and Smith. All episodes can be found on Spotify [5]. Learn more about WORK on our website:

As always, I welcome hearing from you. Do be in touch.


Founding Editor, WORK

Occupational therapist & ergonomist




Leong RlF , Chee MWL . Understanding the need for sleep to improvecognition. Annu. Rev. Psychol. (2023) ;18: (74):27–57.


Chaput JP , McHill AW , Cox RC et al. The role of insufficient sleepand circadian misalignment in obesity. Nat Rev Endocrinol.. (2023) ;19: (2):82–97.


Barnes CM , Guarana C , Lee J , Kaur E . Using wearable technology(closed loop acoustic stimulation) to improve sleep quality and workoutcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology. (1407) ;108: (8):1391–1407.