Study: Doing this at work could sabotage your sleep

New research has found that acting immorally at work might also throw a wrench in your quality of sleep, among many other findings.

Certain behaviors don’t bode well for your quality of sleep— research has found that ‘night owls’ have a higher chance of dying than morning people, thinking you’re an insomniac could be harming your sleep and having your phone around when you hit the sheets certainly isn’t doing you any favors.

But as if that weren’t enough to think about, new research in the Journal of Applied Psychology has found that acting immorally at work might also throw a wrench in your quality of sleep, among many other findings.

The researchers carried out three seperate studies and almost 600 people from China and the United States participated in total, using surveys.

Each study had specific methodology, but the general analysis looked at the participants over 10 workdays and any “counterproductive work behaviors” and how they felt and slept after.  Participants had to share how they’ve behaved at work before, and people who “were prompted to” remember how they acted immorally did worse in the sleep department the same night versus others who shared “routine work behaviors” (in the other study).

Here were some of the most interesting findings.

Why acting out at work isn’t in your best interest

It largely boils down to “counterproductive work behaviors,” which the study labels as “CWB.” Drawing on specific research cited in the study, this term was defined as “employees’ work behaviors that can harm the organization and its members.”

Lead researcher Zhenyu Yuan, a doctoral student of management and organizations at The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, said, “After people engage in bad workplace behaviors, they come to realize such bad deeds threaten their positive moral self-image, which creates stress…As a result, they may keep ruminating over their stress from work, and thus have trouble falling and staying asleep at night,” he said.

Sounds like you could potentially spend a lot of time tossing and turning because of what you think of yourself and your actions at work.

What this could mean for the workplace

“Those who display CWB may encounter negative consequences for their own bad deeds, which may ultimately lead up to insomnia. Instead of taking this result as evidence that those who do wrong will ultimately pay for their own bad deeds, we encourage organizations to view this finding as another motive for management to take concrete measures to proactively reduce employee CWB in the first place,” the study continues.

Basically, companies should do all they can to stop instances of immoral employee behavior.

The researchers later wrote that making sure employees know how acting out at work could be “morally discrediting” could be a possible solution.

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.