Longer Work Days Leave Americans Nodding Off On the Job

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Monday, March 3, 2008
  • per week, with 26 percent saying they snore almost every night.

“Studies show that habitually getting inadequate sleep -- less than seven or eight hours of sleep each night –- creates long-lasting changes to one’s ability to think and function well during the day,” said Thomas J. Balkin, PhD, co-chair of the poll task force and NSF vice chair. “These negative effects can accrue slowly over weeks, months, and even years of inadequate sleep habits and cannot simply be reversed by a few nights of good sleep.”

Long Workday Affects Sleep Quality

The American workday is getting longer and taking work home at the end of the day has become commonplace. The poll results provide a snapshot of the typical American workday:

  • 90 percent of Americans work outside of the home, with an additional 8 percent working from home;
  • On average, people begin their workday by waking at 5:35 am, and spend about 2 hours and 16 minutes at home before heading off to work;
  • The average commute time is 47 minutes round trip;
  • Work days are getting longer – one-fourth of respondents (25%) have a workday that lasts between 8 and 9 hours, another fourth (25%) say that they work between 9 and 10 hours each day, and nearly a third of Americans (33%) report working 10 or more hours each day;
  • After leaving work, Americans spend approximately five hours awake at home before going to sleep at approximately 10:53 pm;
  • However, American workers also report spending an average of 4 hours and 26 minutes doing work from home each week, with 20 percent saying they spend 10 or more hours per week doing extra work from home.

A busy schedule and lack of sleep may also affect people’s mood while at work. Forty percent of those polled said that they have become impatient with others at least a few times that month, 27 percent said that they frequently found it difficult to concentrate while at work and 20 percent acknowledged that their productivity at work was often lower than they expected.

“With Americans working such long hours –

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