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Without Job Stress, Retirees Sleep Better
Date:11/5/2009

Those who left demanding jobs report the most improvement, study finds,,

THURSDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- What you're not doing once retired seems to make a good night's sleep come more easily.

A study of nearly 15,000 French workers who had retired found that the odds of having disturbed sleep in the seven years after retirement were 26 percent lower than in the seven years before they stopped working.

Sleep improvements probably had less to do with how they were spending their retirement, though, than with the removal of the demands and psychological stress associated with working, the researchers said.

The study's lead author called the finding a surprise. "Earlier studies showed a strong link between work stress and disturbed sleep, but research on the health consequences of retirement had produce conflicting results," said Dr. Jussi Vahtera, a professor of public health at the University of Turku in Finland. "Retirement had been hypothesized to represent an additional stressor in some studies, but a relief in other studies."

The prevalence of sleep disturbances among the French retirees, all former employees of a government gas and electric company, fell from about 24 percent in the year before retirement to about 18 percent in the first year after retiring. No attempt was made to determine the specific type of sleep disturbances the retirees experienced.

The biggest reduction was seen among men who had reported depression or mental fatigue before retirement. Improvements in sleep after retiring were also most pronounced among men, management-level workers and workers who had been shift workers or had held jobs considered psychologically demanding.

The only retirees who failed to experience improved sleep were those who had quit working for health reasons.

The study participants had employment benefits that have become less common, including guaranteed job sta
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