The implications of sleep patterns for adolescent health are well established, but we know less about larger contextual influences on youth sleep. We focused on parents' workplace experiences as extrafamilial forces that may affect youth sleep.
In a group-randomized trial focused on employee work groups in the information technology division of a Fortune 500 company, we tested whether a workplace intervention improved sleep latency, duration, night-to-night variability in duration, and quality of sleep of employees' offspring, aged 9–17 years. The intervention was aimed at promoting employees' schedule control and supervisor support for personal and family life to decrease employees' work–family conflict and thereby promote the health of employees, their families, and the work organization. Analyses focused on 93 parent–adolescent dyads (57 dyads in the intervention and 46 in the comparison group) that completed baseline and 12-month follow-up home interviews and a series of telephone diary interviews that were conducted on eight consecutive evenings at each wave.
Intent-to-treat analyses of the diary interview data revealed main effects of the intervention on youth's sleep latency, night-to-night variability in sleep duration, and sleep quality, but not sleep duration.
The intervention focused on parents' work conditions, not on their parenting or parent–child relationships, attesting to the role of larger contextual influences on youth sleep and the importance of parents' work experiences in the health of their children.