Corporate wellness programs would do well to note that new research suggests that sleeping 7 to 8 hours per night is associated with the lowest risk of absence from work due to sickness. The results highlight 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, Sleep Research Society and other partners.
Results show that the risk of an extended absence from work due to sickness rose sharply among those who reported sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours per night. Further analysis found that the optimal sleep duration with the lowest risk of sickness absence from work was between 7 and 8 hours per night: 7 hours, 38 minutes for women and 7 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,” said principal investigator Tea Lallukka, PhD, 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.”
“Sleep and sickness absence: a nationally representative register-based follow-up study” is published in the September issue of the journal Sleep.