Fatigue Research/studies Worker health and wellness

‘Optimal’ sleep linked to less sick time at work: study

Helsinki, Finland – Sleeping between seven and eight hours a night can decrease the possibility of missing work because of illness, a recent study from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health indicates.

Researchers analyzed 3,760 men and women 30-64 years old in Finland. They asked questions about their sleep habits and conducted a physical exam. Work absence information was obtained from the Finnish Social Insurance Institution.

Participants who slept five hours or less, or 10 hours or more, missed 4.6 to 8.9 more days of work each year than workers who slept the “optimal” amount of seven to eight hours, according to a press release.

Insomnia symptoms, waking in the early morning, daytime tiredness, possible sleep apnea and sleeping pill use all were linked to a rise in work absence due to illness.

Lead researcher Tea Lallukka, of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, said in the release that promoting optimal sleep and detecting and preventing insomnia “not only promotes health and work ability among employees, but it can also lead to notable savings in reduced sickness absence costs.”

The study was published in the September issue of the journal Sleep.