The prevalence of short sleep duration by industry and occupation in the National Health Interview Survey

Sleep. 2010 Feb;33(2):149-59. doi: 10.1093/sleep/33.2.149.


Study objectives: To explore whether employment in industries likely to have non-standard work schedules (e.g., manufacturing and service) and occupations with long work-weeks (e.g., managerial/professional, sales, and transportation) is associated with an increased risk of short sleep duration.

Design: Cross-sectional epidemiologic survey.

Setting: Household-based face-to-face survey of civilian, non-institutionalized US residents.

Participants: Sample adults interviewed for the National Health Interview Survey in 1985 or 1990 (N = 74,734) or between 2004 and 2007 (N = 110,422). Most analyses focused on civilian employed workers interviewed between 2004 and 2007 (N = 66,099).

Interventions: N/A.

Measurements and results: The weighted prevalence of self-reported short sleep duration, defined as < or = 6 h per day, among civilian employed workers from 2004-2007 was 29.9%. Among industry categories, the prevalence of short sleep duration was greatest for management of companies and enterprises (40.5%), followed by transportation/warehousing (37.1%) and manufacturing (34.8%). Occupational categories with the highest prevalence included production occupations in the transportation/warehousing industry, and installation, maintenance, and repair occupations in both the transportation/warehousing industry and the manufacturing industry. In the combined sample from 1985 and 1990, 24.2% of workers reported short sleep duration; the prevalence of short sleep duration was significantly lower during this earlier time period compared to 2004-2007 for 7 of 8 industrial sectors.

Conclusions: Self-reported short sleep duration among US workers varies by industry and occupation, and has increased over the past two decades. These findings suggest the need for further exploration of the relationship between work and sleep, and development of targeted interventions for specific industry/occupation groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Industry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sleep Deprivation / epidemiology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Work Schedule Tolerance
  • Young Adult