Results show that the odds of having disturbed sleep in the seven years after retirement were 26 percent lower than in the seven years before retiring. The greatest reduction in sleep disturbances was reported by participants with depression or mental fatigue prior to retirement. The postretirement improvement in sleep also was more pronounced in men, management-level workers, employees who reported high psychological job demands, and people who occasionally or consistently worked night shifts.
Lead author Jussi Vahtera noted that the participants enjoyed employment benefits rarely seen today, including guaranteed job stability, a statutory retirement age between 55 and 60 years, and a company-paid pension that was 80 percent of their salary.
"We believe these findings are largely applicable in situations where financial incentives not to retire are relatively weak," said Vahtera. "In countries and positions where there is no proper pension level to guarantee financial security beyond working age, however, retirement may be followed by severe stress disturbing sleep even more than before retirement."
The study involved employees from the French national gas and electricity company, Electricité de France-Gaz de France, who retired between 1990 and 2006 at a mean age of 55 years. The study includes data from 11,581 male and 3,133 female workers who reported sleep disturbances at least once before and once after the year of retirement. Thirty-five percent of participants had worked night shifts, and 17 percent reported having depression.
Annual survey measurements ranging from seven years before to seven years after retirement were collected throughout the study period. Participants completed questionnaires concerning health, lifestyle, individual, familial, social and occupational factors. Information concerning occupational and health data also was collected from the company.
The authors conclude that in the present time when people are expected to live many years beyond the traditional age of retirement, consideration should be given to the restructuring of working life to enable older workers to remain economically active without compromising their future health.
MEDICA.de; Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine