Psychiatry Investig.  2021 Sep;18(9):889-894. 10.30773/pi.2021.0117.

Insomnia in Emotional Labor: Its Role in Autonomic Nervous System Regulation

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Ansan, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Brain and Cognitive Engineering, Korea University, Seoul Republic of Korea


The relation between female emotional laborers’ sleep quality and autonomic nervous system activity was investigated.
Thirty-three subjects’ heart rate variability (HRV) data and results of self-reported scale on sleep, depression, anxiety and suicidality, were collected. Subjects were classified into good sleeper (GS) and poor sleeper (PS) groups relying on sleep quality. Changes of HRV between working time and resting time in each group were compared.
The PS group showed significantly lower difference in root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD), percentage of successive normal-to-normal intervals that differ by more than 50 ms (pNN50), and natural logarithm high-frequency (LnHF) when they were working as compared to when they were resting, which means decreased function of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Repeated measures analysis of covariance showed that the group effect was significant only for LnHF, with score of depression scale as a covariate.
Female emotional laborers who complain of sleep difficulty may have decreased function of the PNS. Therefore, good sleep quality is essential for maintaining and promoting mental and physical health of women engage in emotional labor.


HRV; Autonomic nervous system; Emotional labor; Sleep; Parasympathetic nervous system
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