Regular exercise is associated with better sleep, so it’s natural to assume that physically demanding jobs might also enhance the sleep experience. It turns out, however, that compared to those who have low-activity jobs (working at a call center or as a computer programmer, for example), people who perform manual labor for a living (construction workers, farmers, and others) have a higher prevalence of sleep disturbances. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to combat the unique sleep challenges of manual labor and make sure your sleep is sound.
Why Manual Labor Sometimes Equals Less Sleep
The fact that physical jobs are correlated with more sleep disturbances may be because manual labor can lead to musculoskeletal pain, which can make it tough to relax enough to fall asleep. It’s also possible that some higher-activity jobs, like being a firefighter, can be stressful, and greater stress has been linked with difficulty falling and staying asleep.
Why Sleep Matters
Healthy sleep is very important for your health and for your productivity on the job. You need sleep in order to feel energized during the day, and to decrease the chance of health conditions such as heart disease and weight gain.
How to Make Sure Your Sleep Is Sound
Though it is unlikely that you can choose your hours around your sleep schedule, you can maximize the quantity and quality of sleep that you do get. Talk with your doctor about strategies that could lead to improved sleep. For example, activities that reduce stress levels—such as relaxation exercises, meditating, or winding down at night with a bath and good book—could help you fall asleep faster and get more hours of sleep.