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Work Hours Contribute to Sleep Deprivation


It’s been stated in numerous reports that in order for adults to function effectively and maintain good health, they need seven to nine hours of sleep. Yet, many of us do not get an adequate amount of sleep.

So, what’s keeping you up at night?

According to a recent study shared on Health Day of 125,000 Americans, ages 15 and older, it seems that work is the biggest culprit. According to the same study, those who slept six hours or less worked 1.55 more hours on weekdays and nearly two more hours on weekends and holidays than those who slept longer.

Source: Bigstock Photo/Sam100

Source: Bigstock Photo/Sam 2172

Those individuals who were labeled as ‘short sleepers’ with six hours or less of sleep were more typically those who had to endure lengthier commutes and also had more than one job. Those with more than one job were 61 percent more likely to sleep six hours or less on weekdays, the researchers said. Another group at risk for sleep deprivation are shift-workers. On average, shift workers in the U.S. are reported to get five to 10 fewer hours of sleep per week than non-shift workers.

Sleep deprivation places individuals at risk for the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Sleep Disorders
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Disease

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Another risk associated with sleep deprivation includes the increased risk of developing false memories. Specifically, sleep deprivation increased false memories during an event in which a misinformation exchange took place.  Imagine the kind of impact this could have on discussions or decision-making in the workplace with customers, subordinates, or your boss? Ultimately, this could lead to increased mistakes or even accidents on the job.

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Just one week of sleep deprivation can lead to stress and poor immunity which can raise the risk for susceptibility to viral infections and inflammation in the body.  

What should be done to decrease the risk of sleep deprivation? Experts recommend that employers should consider implementing flexible work hours and schools should deploy later start times. Perhaps not realistic for some, experts also recommend that if your commute time is greater than 45 minutes that you might consider moving closer to your place of employment. Flexible work hours, later school hours and shorter commutes can add anywhere between twenty minutes to one hour back into our sleep time.

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Other interesting findings of the study that was published in the December issue of Sleep included the finding that unemployed and retired people got more sleep than job holders. Self-employed workers also attained more time with Mr. Sandman and were 17 percent less likely to be short sleepers.  These things combined potentially may be indicative or a direct result of controlling their work schedule.

Perhaps the easiest thing any of us can do to relieve ourselves of sleep deprivation is to just go to bed a little bit earlier.