Study: Your rude coworker may be impacting your partner’s sleep

It’s no surprise that when a colleague at work does something rude or disrespectful, it sticks with you. You begin to unpack everything that microaggression meant until your mind swirls with stresses that weren’t there before. And that kind of unrest can impact your sleep in a bad way; it’s hard to drift off when you’re obsessing about the negativity at work.

But what may come as a shock is that the rude comment Susie made in the break room could contribute to more than just your own insomnia. A new study in the journal Occupational Health Science found that, among couples who work in the same occupation or at the same organization, those negative thoughts about incivility at work spill over to influence spouses’ sleep habits as well.

“Our study indicates that the work experiences of one partner can potentially create sleep problems for both partners,” the authors write. “The outcomes of those sleep problems can then become apparent in two workplaces.”

But the trend doesn’t balloon to affect the larger community, and there’s a good reason: The authors hypothesize that someone may be more prone to react to workplace rudeness their partners experience if they understand the role they’re in and have empathy for what they’re going through. Plus, if their beau works in the same place as them, they may get stuck in the middle of the beef, or at least be privy to it.

Still, it’s fairly baffling that the baggage you carry home from work can weigh down your partner as well and make it to where you both lose sleep. So here are two major takeaways from the study to hopefully keep everyone snoozing soundly.

Be kinder to your colleagues

This study makes it clear that there are serious health implications that come from that passive aggressive comment you made offhand when you were angry at your desk mate. What may be blowing off steam to you can actually cause people to lay in bed restless, wake up cranky and act out even more at work, leading to an increasingly agitated office environment.

So don’t let that happen — instead, show everyone as much kindness as you can, or at least civility. That way, you can rest easy knowing you did your part.

Don’t let the haters get you down

Disrespect is one of those sentiments that especially aggravates people, and for good reason. It doesn’t feel good to be looked down upon or to feel as though your contributions to a team aren’t appreciated. But all of that aside, a little rudeness or disrespect is nothing to lose sleep over.

After all, you probably didn’t do anything to deserve it, and you can’t change it. So the best thing to do is ignore it as much as you can and move on. Tomorrow is another day when Susie will likely orchestrate another run-in. Don’t let her get you down.