Health and Wellness

Napping in the Workplace—A Good Idea for Some?

Generally, you don’t want your employees snoozing on the job. But, if someone’s job results in poor sleeping habits, maybe you should consider nap time at your workplace. Here’s a look at a recent study that identified the occupations most at risk for resulting in lack of sleep.

nap at work

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The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend adults get 7 or more hours of sleep per day. If you are a teacher, farmer, or pilot, it appears from a recently released study out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that you are getting enough sleep (tell that to a kindergarten teacher!).

The report is the first study to evaluate short sleep duration in more than 90 detailed occupation groups and across multiple states.

It is well known that shiftwork and job stress influence sleep duration and quality. According to the CDC, previous research shows that workers in production, health care, protective service, transportation and material moving, and food preparation and serving-related fields are more likely to be shiftworkers. This new study analyzes 2013 and 2014 survey data from nearly 180,000 workers for 22 major occupation groups and 93 detailed occupation groups in 29 states.

Who’s Sleeping the Least?

Overall, 36.5% of survey respondents reported short sleep duration. Of the 22 major occupation groups, production workers seem to be getting the least amount of sleep. According to the survey results, 42.9% of production workers are getting less than 7 hours of sleep a day. Other major occupation groups where workers reported being short on sleep are:

  • Healthcare support (40.1%),
  • Healthcare practitioners and technical (40.0%),
  • Food preparation and serving-related (39.8%), and
  • Protective service (39.2%).

The two major occupation groups that appear to be getting the most sleep are Education, Training, and Library; and Farming, Fishing, and Forestry; both groups with 31.3% of respondents claiming less than 7 hours of sleep a day.

In these five major occupation groups, workers in Mississippi are getting the least amount of sleep, with 26.8% of the respondents claiming they get less than 7 hours a day. Workers in Wyoming, on the other hand, appear to be getting the most sleep with only 17.6% of the respondents getting less than 7 hours a day.

Why Can’t American Workers Get More Sleep?

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are many reasons why American workers are not getting enough sleep. These include shiftwork, job stress, work hours, and physically demanding work. In addition, round-the-clock access to technology and the pressure to work harder have increased work hours for American workers. NIOSH claims that American workers have the longest annual working hours among workers in all wealthy industrialized countries, reducing the time available for sleep.

Are Regulations Necessary?

There was a wide variation for respondents working in detailed occupation groups within the major occupation group of Transportation and Material Moving. Only 21% of air transportation workers reported short sleep while 54% of other transportation workers are getting less than the ideal hours of sleep per day. This could be because the Federal Aviation Administration has mandated rest for pilots before flying while similar requirements for railroad workers don’t kick in until 2018.

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