Short sleep duration among workers--United States, 2010

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012 Apr 27;61(16):281-5.


Insufficient sleep can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for fatigued workers and others around them. For example, an estimated 20% of vehicle crashes are linked to drowsy driving. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults sleep 7-9 hours per day. To assess the prevalence of short sleep duration among workers, CDC analyzed data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The analysis compared sleep duration by age group, race/ethnicity, sex, marital status, education, and employment characteristics. Overall, 30.0% of civilian employed U.S. adults (approximately 40.6 million workers) reported an average sleep duration of ≤6 hours per day. The prevalence of short sleep duration (≤6 hours per day) varied by industry of employment (range: 24.1%-41.6%), with a significantly higher rate of short sleep duration among workers in manufacturing (34.1%) compared with all workers combined. Among all workers, those who usually worked the night shift had a much higher prevalence of short sleep duration (44.0%, representing approximately 2.2 million night shift workers) than those who worked the day shift (28.8%, representing approximately 28.3 million day shift workers). An especially high prevalence of short sleep duration was reported by night shift workers in the transportation and warehousing (69.7%) and health-care and social assistance (52.3%) industries. Targeted interventions, such as evidence-based shift system designs that improve sleep opportunities and evidence-based training programs on sleep and working hours tailored for managers and employees, should be implemented to protect the health and safety of workers, their coworkers, and the public.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling*
  • Sleep Deprivation / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / ethnology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult