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Highlights


A study involved 3,760 working men and women.

They reported how many hours they slept on average during 24 hours.

Work absences lasting more than 10 days due to sickness were tracked.

Results show that the sleep duration with the lowest risk of sick time was between 7 and 8 hours.

Sleep well, work well: The link between sleep duration and sick time

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  • CDC Healthy Sleep

Thomas M. Heffron  |  Sep 03, 2014
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A new study suggests that better job attendance may be one of the many benefits of healthy sleep. After all, you can’t perform well on the job if you don’t show up for work. To be there – and be well – you must sleep well.

The study involved 3,760 men and women who had been working at any time in the prior year. They reported how many hours they slept on average during 24 hours. Work absences lasting more than 10 days due to sickness were tracked. The average follow-up period was seven years.

Results show that the sweet spot for sleep was between 7 and 8 hours. The sleep duration with the lowest risk of sick time for women was 7 hours, 38 minutes. For men it was 7 hours, 46 minutes.

“Getting at least seven hours of nightly sleep is a key to overall health,” said American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler. He is a spokesperson for the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project.

In contrast, people who reported sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours per night had the highest risk of an extended absence from work due to sickness. Those sleeping five hours or less missed about five more days of work per year. People who reported sleeping 10 hours or more missed 9 more days of work each year.

The Healthy Sleep Project involves a partnership between the AASM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sleep Research Society, and others. Its message is simple: Sleep Well, Be Well.

Sleep well to be well in all phases of your life: at work, at home and at play. Make sure that sleep is one of your top health priorities.

Results of the Sleep and Sickness Absence study are published in the September issue of the journal Sleep.

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