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Most coders have sleep problems, need 'hygiene and care'

'Special needs', 'poor mental health' in engineer survey

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A study conducted among software engineers indicates that a high proportion of coders suffer from "severe insomnia" and that a majority have sleep problems of some sort, putting their mental health and "hygiene" at risk.

According to the study authors, the primary reason for the sleeplessness of software engineers is that "job-related stress is considered extremely high". It was concluded that coders "need special attention since they are prone to develop sleep disturbances".

The study was carried out by Sara Sarrafi Zadeh and Khyrunnisa Begum of the Department of Studies in Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Mysore. The test subjects were 91 software engineers working at a Mysore-based development firm.

According to Zadeh and Begum, no fewer than 20.9 per cent of the hapless engineers had "severe" insomnia and a further 35.2 per cent had the problem to a "mild" degree. Less than half the coders were sleeping normally, as compared to 77 per cent of the general population.

According to an accompanying statement, "mental and physical health ... were significantly lower in subjects with insomnia than in other participants. The association between insomnia and poor quality of life was particularly strong for mental health".

Zadeh and Begun conclude:

"Lifestyle management programmes which include sleep hygiene and care should be incorporated as a policy matter in the IT industry."

Their paper Association Between Insomnia and Quality of Life: An Exploratory Study Among Software Engineers is published in the journal Applied Research In Quality of Life. It can be viewed (by subscribers) here. ®

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