Work factors as predictors of poor sleep in nurses’ aides

  • Willy Eriksen
  • Bjørn Bjorvatn
  • Dag Bruusgaard
  • Stein Knardahl
Original Article



The aim was to identify work factors that predict poor sleep in nurses’ aides (assistant nurses).


The study was based on a randomly selected, nationwide sample of Norwegian nurses’ aides. Of 5,513 nurses’ aides, not on leave when they completed a mailed questionnaire in 1999, 4,771 (86.5 %) completed a second questionnaire 3 months later. A wide spectrum of work factors was assessed at baseline by questions from the General Nordic Questionnaire for Psychological and Social factors at Work. Subjective sleep quality during the previous 3 months was measured at baseline and follow-up by a question from the Basic Nordic Sleep Questionnaire. Poor sleep was defined as the subjective experience of not sleeping well.


Medium and high demands, high demand-control ratio, frequent exposure to role conflicts, and frequent exposure to threats and violence at work were associated with increased odds of poor sleep during the successive 3 months, after adjustments for sleep quality during the 3 months before baseline, other work factors, and background factors. High support from immediate superior, frequent rewards for well-done work, and high control of decisions that influence own work situation were associated with or tended to be associated with reduced odds of poor sleep.


Psychosocial work factors which are likely to produce sustained arousal, such as frequent exposure to role conflicts and violence, may contribute to poor sleep in nurses’ aides. Support and encouragement from superiors, and high control at work seem to reduce the risk of poor sleep.


Sleep disorders Occupational health Occupational medicine Nurses’ aides Prospective studies 



This study was financially supported by The Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs, EXTRA funds from the Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation fund, Rhône-Poulenc, Peter Møller AS, and Dr. Trygve Gythfeldt Research Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Willy Eriksen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bjørn Bjorvatn
    • 3
  • Dag Bruusgaard
    • 2
  • Stein Knardahl
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Mental HealthNorwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  2. 2.Institute of General Practice and Community MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of Public Health and Primary Health CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  4. 4.National Institute of Occupational HealthOsloNorway
  5. 5.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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