Programmers at high risk of insomnia

Computer programmers have an especially hard time falling asleep, which leads to a lower quality of life, according to a small study of 91 software engineers in India.

Insomnia is bad news for software engineers’ mental health and deserves greater attention, warned researchers Sara Sarrafi Zadeh and Khyrunnisa Begum at the University of Mysore in India.

In a study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life , the authors found that 56 per cent of the participants had mild or severe insomnia, compared to 23 per cent in the general population. In contrast to what other studies have shown, younger software engineers were more likely to be insomniacs than their older counterparts.

Insomnia can cause daytime problems such as fatigue, irritability, memory impairment and loss of productivity. Left untreated, it has also been linked to severe depression and coronary heart disease.

Because software engineers are at high risk for health problems caused by insomnia, the authors called for sleep assessments during medical checkups, and employer-provided “lifestyle management programs” that teach habits conducive to better sleep.

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