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Sustainable Reduction Of Sleepiness Through Salutogenic Self-Care Procedure In Lunch Breaks: A Pilot Study

Sebastian Schnieder, Sarah Stappert, Masaya Takahashi, Gregory L. Fricchione, Tobias Esch, Jarek Krajewski

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The aim of the study was to elucidate the immediate, intermediate, and anticipatory sleepiness reducing effects of a salutogenic self-care procedure called progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), during lunch breaks. The second exploratory aim deals with determining the onset and long-term time course of sleepiness changes. In order to evaluate the intraday range and interday change of the proposed relaxation effects, 14 call center agents were assigned to either a daily 20-minute self-administered PMR or a small talk (ST) group during a period of seven months. Participants’ levels of sleepiness were analyzed in a controlled trial using anticipatory, postlunchtime, and afternoon changes of sleepiness as indicated by continuously determined objective reaction time measures (16,464 measurements) and self-reports administered five times per day, once per month (490 measurements). Results indicate that, in comparison to ST, the PMR break (a) induces immediate, intermediate, and anticipatory reductions in sleepiness; (b) these significant effects remarkably show up after one month, and sleepiness continues to decrease for at least another five months. Although further research is required referring to the specific responsible mediating variables, our results suggest that relaxation based lunch breaks are both accepted by employees and provide a sustainable impact on sleepiness.