The perils of sleep

When work life invades your dream state, you might be in need of a reset

Last night, I dreamt I was going to a wedding and needed to find a dress to wear. I walked into my closet … but it wasn’t my closet. It was my office, and it had jumbled clothes everywhere; stranger still, my co-workers were trying to get me ready for the event. Bizarre brain behavior, for sure, but perhaps my subconscious was trying to send me a message.

According to “When Work Invades Your Sleep Through Your Dreams,” published in The Wall Street Journal: “A lot of people say work has invaded their sleep, especially during the pandemic, as boundaries have been obliterated and burnout is on the rise.”

Most dreams fall into the familiar tropes of anxiety, fears and stress, and the article notes some negative feelings might remain with the dreamer until the following morning. The author cites a study that found people who experienced certain kinds of stressors during the workday, such as process roadblocks or threats to job security, were more prone to bad dreams. Furthermore, they felt upset and distressed the next morning regardless of how long or well they slept, which, obviously, can affect work performance.

The article states: “We process emotional events while we sleep, taking some of the sting out of the day’s mishaps.”

If you find yourself in a similar situation, the author suggests trying to picture something you would like to dream about as you fall asleep. Researchers say this technique works about 50% of the time.

As for me, my dream wasn’t bad per se; my co-workers were trying to help me find a solution to my wardrobe issues. And perhaps therein lies the message: Do I have too much on my plate and need to delegate more? Do I need to seek more opinions about decisions? Or maybe my co-workers are simply better dressed than I, so I will picture buying new clothes as I fall asleep tonight.

AMBIKA PUNIANI REID is editor of Professional Roofing and NRCA’s vice president of communications.


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