CDC Reports Short Sleep Duration Among Night Shift Workers in Health Care: Are You One of Them?
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the April 27 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that 30 percent of U.S. workers (approximately 40.6 million people) reported that they sleep six hours or less a night.
Among all workers, those who usually worked the night shift had a much higher prevalence of short sleep duration (44 percent, representing approximately 2.2 million night shift workers) than those who worked the day shift (28.8 percent, representing approximately 28.3 million day shift workers). An especially high prevalence of short sleep duration was reported by night shift workers in the healthcare and social assistance (52.3 percent) industries.
For those in the health information management profession, working overnight is not uncommon. Perhaps you're a medical transcriptionist working in a hospital who is assigned to the third shift. Or maybe you're an independent contractor clocking in your hours long after your family is in tucked into bed.
Insufficient sleep can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for fatigued workers and others around them, the CDC noted. For example, an estimated 20 percent of vehicle crashes are linked to drowsy driving.
Furthermore, researchers have discovered that sleep - and the importance of its timing, quality, and duration - can be tracked down to a cellular level in the human body. "We see traces of biological rhythm in every cell, tissue, organ," said Michael Twery, PhD, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, in an ADVANCE article. "Deviation from the proper length and quality of sleep can put us at risk for disease. Without enough sleep, the likelihood of mortality increases."
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults sleep seven to nine hours per day. How much sleep did you get last night?