Sleep and Exercise are Key to Leaving Work Stress at the Office

A new study finds that simple wellness practices can help you stop taking work frustrations out at home.

New research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests that getting adequate sleep and exercise can help you stop taking work gripes out on your family.

The study design was simple: track the sleep habits and activity levels of more than 100 MBA students with full-time jobs, ask them about their work and home lives, and ask the people who lived with them about the subject’s behavior at home.

The more subjects felt undermined at work, the worse they slept, and the more they brought frustrations home with them. Not surprising, according to Shannon Taylor, Ph.D,. from the University of Central Florida, one of the authors of the study. She said that frustrated employees may vent their anger at home because “they’re too tired to regulate their behavior.”

What was surprising was the role exercise seemed to play in stopping the cycle of harmful behavior (your boss treats you poorly so you treat your family poorly). Participants who took the most steps per day were less likely to perpetuate abuse than those who moved the least, something the researchers attribute to how exercise improves people’s ability to control their own behavior.

The MBA students benefitted from getting about 10,900 steps per day, on average. If you need motivation to unearth your sneakers, consider this: “It’s not just good for you, it’s good for your spouse, too,” said Taylor.

Read more at EurekAlerts.