Many working Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep, especially for public safety and health workers: study

The number of working Americans who get less than seven hours of sleep a night are on the rise, and public safety and healthcare support professionals are among those impacted most, according to a recent study.

Researchers from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey on self-reported sleep duration from 150,000 people working different professions. The findings were published in the Journal of Community Health.

The research team looked at the data over a nine-year period. The study found that the number of people getting less than seven hours of sleep increased from 30.9 percent in 2010 to 35.6 percent in 2018.

The study revealed that in 2018 the highest levels of sleep loss were reported by Americans who worked in public safety and military roles at 50 percent. Those working in healthcare support roles were a close second at 45 percent. People working in transportation and material moving positions, as well as those in various production jobs came in at 41 percent.

Some public safety and healthcare workers disclosed that on average, they got about five to six hours of sleep per night, according to MPRnews.

Researchers did not look into the reasons why people might be lacking sufficient sleep, but the head author of the study suggested it could be due to stress and technology, MPRnews reported.

A November 2017 study by the American Psychological Association found that stress was also on the rise for Americans. It found that 63 percent of those surveyed stress about the future of the country, while 62 percent and 61 percent worry about money and work, respectively.

As for technology, many people are plugged into their electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets and computers, which can make it harder for them to relax and get proper sleep.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night.

People who get less than the recommended hours of sleep can be at risk for dozens of physical and mental health problems. Some of those include weight gain, lack of concentration, depression, irritability, anxiety, increased risk of high blood pressure and a weakened immune system, according to Hopkins Medicine.

The National Sleep Foundation offers a list of tips and tricks to getting better sleep on its website. Some include sticking to a schedule, practicing a relaxing bedtime ritual and exercising daily.