Top 10 most sleep deprived professionsTurns out many Americans are not getting the rest they need, according to a study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which analyzed the amount of sleep people in various professions usually get at night.
By: Pamela Knudson, Grand Forks Herald
Ever find yourself feeling a little drowsy at work? You’re not alone.
Turns out many Americans are not getting the rest they need, according to a study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which analyzed the amount of sleep people in various professions usually get at night.
Based on results of the its National Health Interview Survey, no profession on the list hit the recommended eight hours of sleep at night.
Professions rated as the most sleep-deprived, averaging around seven hours of sleep a night, were home health aides and lawyers.
On the other end of the spectrum, forest and logging workers were the most well-rested, averaging seven hours and 20 minutes of sleep a night.
Police officers, physicians and economists rounded out the top five most sleep-deprived careers.
They were followed by social workers, computer programmers, financial analysts, plant operators and secretaries.
The most-rested professions did not fare much better, averaging only a few precious minutes of sleep more than their sleep-deprived counterparts.
In this category, professions that ranked highest were: hairstylists, sales representatives, bartenders, construction workers, athletes, landscapers, engineers, aircraft pilots and teachers.
The information in this study was based on the responses of 27,000 adults who were interviewed about sleep habits.
Research has proven that a sufficient amount of quality sleep is critical for good health — and for the brain to learn and remember things, according to Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute, which researches the science of sleep.
The effect of shifting to Daylight Savings Time also points up the value of regular, restorative sleep, he said.
Studies confirm that the one hour of extra sleep has decreased the risk of heart attacks during the week following the fall time change.
“No matter your occupation, stress level or whether you work outdoors or at a desk, Daylight Savings Time offers an important reminder of the effects quality sleep can have on the work force.”
If you shorten sleep, both short-term (one-night) or long-term (more than two weeks), the ability to retain newly learned information decreases, he said. This applies to new information, as well as new tasks like playing a piano or guitar.
Processes that occur during sleep help consolidate and store information that can later be retrieved, says Raman Malhotra, co-director of the Saint Louis University Sleep Disorders Center.
When humans get poor sleep or suffer from sleep disruption, they perform worse on memory testing and neuropsychological testing, according to Malhotra.
Almost all aspects of learning require sleep to help the brain retain and remember what is useful, Oexman said. Most skills are tied to sleep. Athletic skills seem to improve with sleep.
Motor skills, such as playing a piano, improve with sleep, he said. Math and word recall are enhanced after a good night of sleep.
Some skills may be more affected by sleep than others, Malhotra said. Almost all brain function is affected by sleep loss, but there are certain aspects that are more sensitive.
Reflexes, fine motor skill, memory, attention and decision-making are all sensitive to sleep loss, he said.
Call Knudson at (701) 780-1107; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1107; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.