Longer Work Days Leave Americans Nodding Off On the Job

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Monday, March 3, 2008

roads,” said Darrel Drobnich, NSF acting chief executive officer. “Longer workdays and more access to colleagues and the workplace through the Internet and other technology appear to be causing Americans to get less sleep. Reciprocally, the effects of sleep loss on work performance are costing U.S. employers tens of billions of dollars a year in lost productivity. It’s time for American workers and employers to make sleep a priority.”

Poor Sleep Quality Affects Work Performance

Americans are not getting the sleep they need which may affect their ability to perform well during the workday. More than one-fourth (28%) of those polled say that daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities at least a few days each month. And interestingly, though on average people say they need to get 7 hours and 18 minutes of sleep per night to be at their best during the next workday they report only getting an average of 6 hours and 40 minutes of sleep per night on weekdays. When Americans do go to sleep, they do not sleep long enough nor soundly enough, and these sleep problems may even be affecting the sleep quality of their bed partner.

  • Nearly a third (32%) of those surveyed say they only get a good night’s sleep a few nights per month;
  • 65 percent of Americans report experiencing a sleep problem, such as difficulty falling asleep, waking during the night, and waking feeling unrefreshed at least a few times each week, with nearly half (44%) of those saying they experience that sleep problem almost every night;
  • 10 percent of respondents say they use sleep aids - 7 percent use over-the-counter/store bought sleep aids; 3 percent use sleep medications prescribed by a doctor and 8 percent say they use alcohol which they perceive as a sleep aid - at least a few nights each week;
  • Nearly half of those polled say that they wake up feeling unrefreshed in the morning (49%) or were awake a lot during the night (42%) at least a few nights each week, and
  • One third (33%) say they snore at least a few nights
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