Rest Easy: Retirement (and Money) Can Improve Sleep
Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint at any age. It affects almost half of adults 60 and older, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Credit: © Marcin Kempski |Dreamstime.com"

It's no secret the stress of work can keep you up at nights. Now research shows that retirement can spur less fitful sleep, at least for people who are financially stable.

The prevalence of sleep disturbances among 14,714 study participants in France — all of whom had pensions that continued to pay 80 percent of their salaries — fell from 24.2 percent in the last year before retirement to 17.8 percent in the first year after retiring.

The finding may not apply to retirees who lack financial stability, however.

"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," said study leader Jussi Vahtera, professor in the department of public health at the University of Turku in Finland.

The greatest sleep improvement in the study was reported by those who had depression or mental fatigue prior to retirement. Other groups that benefited more than the average:

  • Men
  • Managers
  • Employees who reported high psychological job demands
  • Night-shift workers

Other studies have shown that work stress can be bad for your health, and research has detailed the health risks of pulling the night shift. Separate studies show stress is deadly, generally speaking.

The new 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 findings are detailed in today's issue of the journal Sleep.