Monday, July 16, 2012

Do Your Patients Get Enough Sleep?

Many Don't

Nearly 41 million American workers—that’s 30% of the labor force—get 6 hours of sleep or less each night, according to the CDC.  They are putting themselves and those around them at risk. 

This data is from the National Health Interview Survey done in 2010 and was published in the April 27, 2012 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“Not surprisingly, workers who work the night shift are more likely to not get enough sleep,” said Dr. Sara Luckhaupt, lead author.  Others include people with more than one job or working more than 40 hours a week; widows and divorced people; those with a high school education; and African-Americans.

Short sleep duration is linked to:
  • Car accidents (CDC estimates 20% of crashes)
  • Weight gain
  • Heart attack, stroke, falls
  • Depression, substance abuse, irritability
  • Poor attention, work absenteeism
Nearly 70% of those working night shifts in transportation and warehousing are sleep-deprived, the study said.  Although inadequate sleep was most common to workers on night (44%) and rotating (32%) shifts, 29% of people who regularly work day shift averaged 6 hours or less.  Working nights and sleeping during the day, in particular, disrupts the natural sleep cycle, called circadian rhythm, Luckhaupt said.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep nightly for healthy adults.

This article was originally published in Pathways Physician & Health Professional Bulletin - Issue 24.  To download this issue in PDF format, or past issues, visit our newsletter archives online at

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