Monday, February 22, 2010

Sleep & Work: The “Worst-Sleeping” Jobs

No one wants to have a bad-paying job. But what about a “bad-sleeping” job? Are employees in some industries more likely to be sleep deprived?

A new study examined the data. The
results were published this month in the journal Sleep.

The study involved 66,099 employed workers in the U.S. They answered questions for the
National Health Interview Survey between 2004 and 2007.

Participants were asked, “On average, how many hours of sleep do you get in a 24-hour period?” Short sleep duration was defined as six hours of sleep or less in a 24-hour period.

Results show that an estimated 28.4 percent of U.S. workers had a short sleep duration in 2007. This was lower than the rates of short sleep from 2004 to 2006. But comparisons with older data suggest that the average sleep duration has declined among workers over the last two decades.

The rate of short sleep was about 37 percent in people who worked more than one job or more than 40 hours per week. The following were the five “worst-sleeping” industries. They had the highest estimated rates of short sleep duration:

  • Management of companies and enterprises (40.5%)
  • Transportation and warehousing (37.1%)
  • Manufacturing (34.8%)
  • Public administration (33.5%)
  • Information (31.4%)

These estimates represent more than 10 million workers who reported getting six or fewer hours of daily sleep. The authors reported that people in these industries are likely to perform shift work. Early-morning start times, night shifts and rotating shifts may be a cause of short sleep duration.

What about “good-sleeping” jobs? These industries had the lowest estimated rates of short sleep duration:

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting (23.1%)
  • Education services (26.7%)
  • Other services, except public administration (26.9%)
  • Real estate, rental & leasing (27.2%)
  • Professional, scientific & technical service (27.4%)
The authors estimated that about 40 million U.S. workers sleep less than six hours per day. Chronic sleep deprivation can increase health risks. It also can impair job performance and raise the risk of workplace injuries.

The study was conducted by the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The NIOSH is part of the CDC.

Another recent
study found that the odds ratio for short sleep was increased by 19 percent in full-time workers. Another study found that women who work full time sleep less than men.

Read more about
sleep and work.

Image by Stephen Petit

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