Americans Trade-in More Hours of Sleep to Work and Commute

Americans are working more and sleeping less, according to a recent study. On top of that we're devoting more time to our daily commutes as well.

Americans aren't getting enough sleep, and it's not because most of us are binge-watching an entire season of House of Cards. It's work that's depriving us of our eight hours, according to a recent study.


Bourree Lam of The Atlantic writes that the top culprits eating-away American's sleep time are socializing, grooming, watching TV, commuting, and most of all working. It's not just our weekdays that are being affected, it's weekends and holidays as well.

The study, published in the journal Sleep, sorted participants into three categories: short sleepers (fewer than six hours), normal sleepers (six to 11 hours), and long sleepers (more than 11 hours). Compared to normal sleepers, short sleepers spent 1.6 hours more working during weekdays and 1.9 hours more working on weekends and holidays.

Second on the list, contributing to sleep deprivation was a long commute. The national average sits around 25 minutes to get to work and The Atlantic reported in another article that 1.7 million people have a commute that runs over 90 minutes long.

The lead author Dr. Mathias Basner, Assistant Professor of sleep and chronobiology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a press release that these findings suggest changes should be made, and companies may be in a position to help.

“Potential intervention strategies to decrease the prevalence of chronic sleep loss in the population include greater flexibility in morning work and class start times, reducing the prevalence of multiple jobs, and shortening morning and evening commute times.” 

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends getting between seven to nine hours of sleep each night. You'll be more resilient against diseases and more productive during the work day. Researchers found that if a respondent's day started before 6 a.m., they got around six hours of sleep. Whereas people starting their day around 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. got an average of 7.29 hours.

If you're sleep is suffering, consider moving closer to the office, negotiating a more flexible work schedule with your boss, or finding a different line of work. Unfortunately, those who work two jobs may remain in sleep debt until changes are made to minimum wage.

Read more at The Atlantic

Photo Credit: bark/Flickr

Related Articles

Why the “slow metabolism” is a myth

Despite its prominence in our collective imagination, variations in metabolism play a minor role in obesity.

Photo: Science Photo Library
Surprising Science
  • Vox senior health correspondent Julia Belluz spent a day inside of a metabolic chamber at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.
  • Her 90 minutes on stationary cycle only burned 405 calories, just 17% of the day's total calories.
  • Resting metabolism uses up the bulk of the body's energy.
Keep reading Show less

Are people with more self-discipline happier?

Why self-control makes your life better, and how to get more of it.

Buddhist monks of all nations mediate in Thailand. Monks are well known for their self-discipline and restrictive lifestyle. Is it possible that this leads them to happiness?
(Photo by Geem Drake/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • Research demonstrates that people with higher levels of self-control are happier over both the short and long run.
  • Higher levels of self-control are correlated with educational, occupational, and social success.
  • It was found that the people with the greatest levels of self-control avoid temptation rather than resist it at every turn.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists reverse hair loss by making scalp "smell" sandalwood

It turns out the human scalp has an olfactory receptor that seems to play a crucial role in regulating hair follicle growth and death.

Photo: malehmann via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Scientists treated scalp tissue with a chemical that mimics the odor of sandalwood.
  • This chemical bound to an olfactory receptor in the scalp and stimulated hair growth.
  • The treatment could soon be available to the public.
Keep reading Show less