More Sleep Would Make Americans Better Employees

With daylight saving time coming to an end soon, it might be a good time to catch up on some sleep.

With daylight saving time officially coming to an end on Sunday, November 5, it may be a good time for working Americans to take advantage of that extra hour of sleep.

sleep survey
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According to a new survey from Glassdoor, 74 percent of full and part time employees say they get less than eight hours of sleep on a typical work night, averaging just 6.9 hours of sleep. That’s below the recommended amount of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation and National Institute for Health, which agree that most healthy adults (ages 18-64) need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best. The Glassdoor survey also reveals other sleep behaviors and insights related to employees, work and performance during the workweek.

The survey found that 66 percent of U.S. adults employed full and part time say they would be better employees if they got more sleep, especially those ages 18-44 (73 percent) compared to those ages 45-64 (59 percent). On average, 18-34 year old employees sleep more (7.4 hours) than those ages 45-64 (6.5 hours) on a typical work night. By gender, male employees report 7.1 hours of sleep on a typical work night, while female employees report 6.8 hours of sleep. Female employees age 45-54 report sleeping only 6.4 hours on a typical work night and nearly one in five (18 percent) of them report just five hours or less of sleep each night. Meanwhile, when it comes to male employees ages 18-34, they report 7.5 hours of sleep on a typical work night. In addition, employees who are married get more sleep (7.1 hours) than employees who are not married (6.7 hours) on the average work night.

“For many employees, a regular work day has become somewhat irregular,” said Carmel Galvin, Glassdoor chief human resources officer. “With technology allowing employees to work remotely and flexible work schedules on the rise, employees are empowered to step in and out of work to accommodate their personal and family lives. But with this advancement, the lines of when work starts and ends can blur, potentially impacting the rest employees receive during the week to be at their best.

“Sleep not only provides physical restoration to the body, but it is critical for cognitive function, concentration and productivity,” Galvin continued. “Employers can help employees get enough rest by reminding them to take time off when they need it, and before bed, to avoid screen time. However, employees should also take responsibility for their wellness and recognize most employers want people to take the rest they need to be at their best.”

While the Glassdoor survey shows that working Americans are sleeping less than the recommended seven to nine hours, survey findings also suggest that it’s not necessarily tied to demanding employers. In fact, roughly three in four (74 percent) say their manager does encourage them to take time off when they need to take care of their health and wellness. Plus, 87 percent of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing their life between work and personal commitments.

However, there may still be a disconnect when it comes to employees taking rest and/or caring for one’s health, as three in five (61 percent) employees acknowledge they would rather work when they feel sick than use their paid time off or sick time. Younger employees ages 18-44 (70 percent) are more likely to feel this way than those ages 45-64 (52 percent).

A previous Glassdoor survey also found that working Americans today are having a tougher time taking rest compared to a few years ago. In fact, two in three (66 percent) employees who take vacation/time off report working while on vacation, an increase since 2014 (61 percent). The leading reasons among employees who work while on vacation include fear of getting behind (34 percent), no one else at their company can do the work while they’re out (30 percent), they are completely dedicated to their company (22 percent), and they feel they can never be disconnected (21 percent).