Sleep Duration and Your Job

Did you get enough sleep last night?  The National Sleep Foundation suggests adults need 7- 9 hours of sleep per night.  But, many working adults do not always meet the required sleep range. A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compares the varying sleep durations among 90 detailed occupation groups spanning multiple states.

Researchers evaluated  36.5% working adults who get less than 7 hours of quality sleep per night.  Not surprisingly, in occupations where shift work is more common, such as production or healthcare, researchers found that workers deal with a lack of sleep on a more regular basis.  Other occupational groups, such as teachers or farmers, were more likely to get enough sleep.

Lack of Sleep and Your Body

Lack of rest from a shorter amount of sleep poses some negative health risks on your body.  For those who slept less than 7 hours per night, researchers found the perceived difficulty was 50% greater than those who actually got enough sleep.  Some health outcomes from less sleep include cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression, and even safety concerns related to drowsiness. The research from this study suggests your occupation is a significant factor in sleep analysis and interventions.

About 179,621 employed adults were analyzed and broken up into 22 major groups, which were then split into 93 detailed occupation groups. The prevalence of short sleep duration was calculated from this data. Within the major groups, short sleep duration adjusted prevalence ranged from:

  • 9% – among production workers
  • 3% – among farming, fishing, forestry, education, training, and libraries

Within major groups, high adjusted prevalence includes:

  • 1% – among healthcare support
  • 40% – among healthcare practitioners and technical
  • 8% – among food preparation and serving-related

Within the detailed occupation groups, short sleep duration adjusted prevalence ranged from:

  • 2% – among communications equipment operators
  • 4% – among air transportation workers (e.g., pilots)

Within detailed groups, high adjusted prevalence includes:

  • 3% – nursing, psychiatric, home health aides (in healthcare support major group)
  • 54% – transportation (e.g., parking attendants)
  • 7% – rail transportation workers (e.g., locomotive engineers)

Healthcare providers can advise patients on lifestyle changes to improve sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:

  1. Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
  2. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot or too cold.
  3. Make sure your bed is comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music. Remove all TVs, computers, and other “gadgets” from the bedroom.
  4. Avoid large meals before bedtime.

Additional Resources

Effect of Short Sleep Duration on Daily Activities

Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Problem

Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Drowsy Driving