U.S. workers not catching enough ZZZZs

By: April 30th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Among all U.S. workers, 30% report not getting enough sleep, and workers on night shift usually reported the most sleep deprivation, according to the CDC.

“Short Sleep Duration Among Workers — United States, 2010,” published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, April 27, found “an especially high prevalence of short sleep duration was reported by night shift workers in the transportation and warehousing (69.7%) and health-care and social assistance (52.3%) industries.”

Workers pulling night shifts weren’t the only healthcare respondents complaining about lack of sleep. Nearly 30% of regular daytime shift healthcare workers and 36.6% in other shift categories, such as regular evening shifts and rotating shifts, reported short sleep duration (averaging less than 6 hours per 24-hour period).

In addition to adverse health effects such as cardiovascular disease or obesity, insufficient sleep duration is associated with decreased workplace safety and impaired job performance, according to the report.

The report recommends that targeted interventions and in-depth examination of work hours and scheduling with respect to specific industry can help employers in designing sleep friendly of schedules.

“For example, rotating workers forward from evening to night shifts rather than backwards from night to evening shifts makes it easier for circadian rhythms to adjust so that workers can sleep during their rest times,” according to the report.

Look for NIOSH to develop evidence-based training programs on sleep and working hours tailored for managers and employees in several work settings, including nursing.


I think that we need to be careful on any regulation with this. While I see that starting a job at 4 or 5 AM is a problem as the shift rotation changes discussed above, something that managers need to address, is some of the problem with those who start at 7 AM or later due to personal choice? For instance, I get up at 5:15 AM- so, if I choose to watch news at 10PM that is me- I oould, and sometimes do, watch a 9 PM newscast (or skip the news). Be careful about what you try to regulate. I see more & more regulation being promulgated when it should be a matter of personal responsibility.


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