Does evening “recovery” affect a person’s mood at work the next day?

Researchers at the University of Mannheim found that the mood with which people start their work is impacted by the quality of their recovery the evening before.

The study by Maike Arnold, M.Sc., and Prof. Dr. Sabine Sonnentag showed that people who had higher quality recovery during the evening than usual had higher levels of wakefulness, calmness, and pleasantness when they started work the next day. According to the study, activities that help people mentally detach from work and relax are best suited for good recovery. The specific activities can vary interpersonally and on a day-to-day basis. Socializing, reading a book or practicing mindfulness are general examples of relaxing activities. On the other hand, employees who had a worse-than-usual rest the previous night perceived themselves as more tired, tense, and unpleasant the next day. Moreover, these feelings and sensations persist on such days and do not improve throughout the day.
“Our study shows that daily recovery from work during off-job time is indeed beneficial for employees’ mood”, said Maike Arnold who conducted the study in collaboration with Occupational and Organizational Psychologist Prof. Dr. Sabine Sonnentag. “However, our findings also highlight that the benefits of evening recovery are relatively short-lived, since wakefulness and calmness subside during the workday after evenings with higher quality recovery”, explained Arnold.
The study was based on diary entries by 124 employees on 887 days who were asked to answer questions several times a day about criteria such as mood, recovery and work events.

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