Strategic HR

Survey: 2/3 of Workers Would Be Better Employees If They Got More Sleep

With daylight saving time officially coming to an end on Sunday, November 5, it may be time for working Americans to take advantage of that extra hour of sleep. According to a new survey from Glassdoor, three in four (74%) full and part time employees say they get less than 8 hours of sleep on a typical work night, averaging just 6.9 hours of sleep.
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However, that is 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 to 64) need between 7 to 9 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 Glassdoor survey, conducted online by Harris Poll among 1,077 U.S. adults employed full and part time, found that 66% say they would be better employees if they got more sleep, especially those ages 18 to 44 (73%) compared to those ages 45 to 64 (59%).

On average, 18- to 34-year-old employees sleep more (7.4 hours) than those ages 45 to 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 to 54 report sleeping only 6.4 hours on a typical work night and nearly one in five (18%) of them report just 5 hours or less of sleep each night.

Meanwhile, when it comes to male employees ages 18 to 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. 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,” said Carmel Galvin, Glassdoor Chief Human Resources officer—in a press release. “Sleep not only provides physical restoration to the body, but it is critical for cognitive function, concentration and productivity. 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 7 to 9 hours, survey findings also suggest that it’s not necessarily tied to demanding employers. In fact, roughly three in four (74%) say their manager does encourage them to take time off when they need to take care of their health and wellness. Plus, 87% 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%) employees acknowledge they would rather work when they feel sick than use their paid time off or sick time. Younger employees ages 18 to 44 (70%) are more likely to feel this way than those ages 45 to 64 (52%).

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%) employees who take vacation/time off report working while on vacation, an increase since 2014 (61%). The leading reasons among employees who work while on vacation include fear of getting behind (34%), no one else at their company can do the work while they’re out (30%), they are completely dedicated to their company (22%), and they feel they can never be disconnected (21%).