Sleep and sleepiness in young individuals with high burnout scores

Sleep. 2004 Nov 1;27(7):1369-77. doi: 10.1093/sleep/27.7.1369.


Study objectives: Burnout is a growing health problem in Western society. This study aimed to investigate sleep in subjects scoring high on burnout but still at work. The purpose was also to study the diurnal pattern of sleepiness, as well as ratings of work stress and mood in groups with different burnout scores.

Design: Sleep was recorded in 2 groups (high vs low on burnout) during 2 nights; 1 before a workday and 1 before a day off, in a balanced order. Sleepiness ratings as well as daytime diary ratings were analyzed for the workday and the day off after the sleep recordings.

Setting: The polysomnographic recordings were made in the subjects' home.

Participants: Twenty-four healthy individuals (14 women and 10 men) between the ages of 24 and 43 years participated.

Interventions: N/A.

Measurements and results: A higher frequency of arousals during sleep (Workday: high burnout = 12+/-1 per hour, low burnout = 8+/-1 per hour; Day off: high burnout = 12+/-2 per hour, low burnout =8+/-1 per hour), and more subjective awakening problems were found in the high-burnout group. The diurnal pattern of sleepiness indicated that the high-burnout group did not recover in the same way as did the low-burnout group on the day off. Indicators of impaired recovery were also seen within the high-burnout group as a higher degree of bringing work home and working on weekends, as well as more complaints of work interfering with leisure time.

Conclusions: Young subjects with high burnout scores, but who are still working, show more arousals during sleep and an absence of reduced sleepiness during days off.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Arousal*
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional / etiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory*
  • Polysomnography*
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications*
  • Sleep Deprivation / epidemiology
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload / psychology