More than a third of workers in a recent study got less than the recommended seven hours of sleep a night – and those in certain occupations were more likely to fall short.
36.5 percent of workers reported short sleep duration in the Center for Disease Control (CDC) study.
This matches the results from Gallup polls on sleep going back more than 25 years. In polls from 1990 through 2013, Gallup consistently found that 40 percent of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep.
The cost of sleep shortages
Falling short of the recommendation comes with severe costs to health, safety and the economy.
“Short sleep duration has been linked to various negative health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression, as well as to safety issues related to drowsy driving and injuries,” study author Taylor Shockey said in a press release.
The report warns, “Workers in occupations with high prevalences of short sleep duration might be most at risk for sleep-related accidents and adverse health outcomes associated with short sleep duration.”
And, the CDC also reports that insufficient shut-eye results in 1.2 million lost working days and a $411 billion cost to the economy each year.
Lack of sleep by occupation
Nearly 180,000 adults in 29 states took part in the telephone surveys. Researchers categorized workers into 22 major occupation groups. The groups where shift work is more common were more likely to report a shortage of sleep.
- Production (42.9%)
- Healthcare support (40.1%)
- Healthcare practitioners and technical (40.0%)
- Food preparation and serving-related (39.8%)
- Protective service (39.2%)
At the other end, the occupations reporting the most sleep, with only 31.3 percent experiencing short sleep duration were: Education; training and library; and farming, fishing and forestry workers.
Seven hours of sleep is the recommended amount for adults ages 18-60, based on findings from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.
See ways to improve sleep hygiene at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s Sleep Education website. For employers, here are three steps to help sleep-deprived workers and six tips to ward off fatigue and boost your energy at work.