Study: Adequate sleep reduces absence from work due to sickness
DARIEN, Ill. — New research suggests that sleeping seven to eight hours per night is associated with the lowest risk of absence from work due to sickness, the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project reported Wednesday. The results underscore the importance of the “Sleep Well, Be Well” campaign of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society.
Results show that the risk of an extended absence from work due to sickness rose sharply among those who reported sleeping less than six hours or more than nine hours per night. Further analysis found that the optimal sleep duration with the lowest risk of sickness absence from work was between seven and eight hours per night: seven hours, 38 minutes for women and seven hours, 46 minutes for men. Insomnia-related symptoms, early morning awakenings, feeling more tired than others, and using sleeping pills also were consistently associated with a significant increase in workdays lost due to sickness.
“Optimal sleep duration should be promoted, as very long and very short sleep indicate health problems and subsequent sickness absence,” stated principal investigator Tea Lallukka, specialized researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. “Those sleeping five hours or less, or 10 hours or more, were absent from work every year for 4.6 to 8.9 days more, as compared to those with the optimal sleep length.”
The study results are published in the September issue of the journal Sleep.
“Insufficient sleep – due to inadequate or mistimed sleep – contributes to the risk for several of today’s public health epidemics, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Getting at least seven hours of nightly sleep is a key to overall health, which translates to less sick time away from work,” commented American Academy of Sleep Medicine president Timothy Morgenthaler, a national spokesperson for the Healthy Sleep Project. The “Sleep Well, Be Well” campaign was launched earlier this year to increase awareness of the importance of sleep as one of the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle.