A workplace intervention improves sleep: results from the randomized controlled Work, Family & Health Study


Olson R, Crain TL, Bodner T, King RB, Hammer LB, Klein LC, Erickson L, Moen P, Berkman LF, Buxton OM. A workplace intervention improves sleep: results from the randomized controlled Work, Family & Health Study. Sleep Health [Internet]. 2015;1 (1) :55-65.

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Study objectives: The Work, Family, and Health Network Study tested the hypothesis that a workplace intervention designed to increase family-supportive supervision and employee control over work time improves actigraphic measures of sleep quantity and quality.

Design: Cluster-randomized trial.

Setting: A global information technology firm.

Participants: US employees at an information technology firm.

Interventions: Randomly selected clusters of managers and employees participated in a 3-month, social, and organizational change process intended to reduce work-family conflict. The intervention included interactive sessions with facilitated discussions, role playing, and games. Managers completed training in family-supportive supervision.

Measurements and results: Primary outcomes of total sleep time (sleep duration) and wake after sleep onset (sleep quality) were collected from week-long actigraphy recordings at baseline and 12 months. Secondary outcomes included self-reported sleep insufficiency and insomnia symptoms. Twelve-month interviews were completed by 701 (93% retention), of whom 595 (85%) completed actigraphy. Restricting analyses to participants with ≥3 valid days of actigraphy yielded a sample of 473-474 for intervention effectiveness analyses. Actigraphy-measured sleep duration was 8 min/d greater among intervention employees relative to controls (P < .05). Sleep insufficiency was reduced among intervention employees (P = .002). Wake after sleep onset and insomnia symptoms were not different between groups. Path models indicated that increased control over work hours and subsequent reductions in work-family conflict mediated the improvement in sleep sufficiency.

Conclusions: The workplace intervention did not overtly address sleep, yet intervention employees slept 8 min/d more and reported greater sleep sufficiency. Interventions should address environmental and psychosocial causes of sleep deficiency, including workplace factors

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Last updated on 08/15/2017