Many of us are eagerly awaiting the extra hour of sleep we’ll get at the end of daylight saving time on Sunday, November 5 — but according to new survey data from Glassdoor, most Americans would do well to catch a few more Zs every night. In an online survey conducted by Harris Poll, Glassdoor found that three in four (or 74 percent of) employees get less than eight hours of sleep on a typical work night, averaging just 6.9 hours of sleep.
Both the National Sleep Foundation and the National Institute for Health say that number doesn’t cut it — most healthy adults between 18 and 64 need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best. The participants surveyed seemed to agree, with 66 percent saying they would be better employees if they got more sleep.
Some of us seem to be doing a better job of getting the rest we need than others. Among those with the best sleep habits were those ages 18-34 (7.4 hours per night), those who are married (7.1 hours) and men (7.1 hours). Some of the groups lagging behind included those ages 45-64 (6.5 hours), the unmarried (6.7 hours) and women (6.8 hours). In particular, female employees age 45-54 reported just 6.4 hours per night, with nearly one in five (18 percent) getting just five hours or less.
Getting sufficient sleep isn’t just important for work performance — it can have a tremendous impact on your health as well. Being well-rested is linked to a healthy weight and higher test scores, while chronic sleep deprivation can lead to heart disease, diabetes and even early mortality.
The good news? It’s never too late to make a change for the better. Here are a few basic sleep hygiene practices you can follow in order to get a better night’s sleep:
- Unplug before bed: The light from devices like phones, laptops and iPads tells your brain to be in “on” mode, so all electronic gadgets should be turned off an hour before bedtime.
- Find a routine: Only you know what relaxes you the most — maybe it’s a warm bath, meditation or listening to gentle music. Find your ritual so that you can unwind and fall asleep with ease.
- Create the right environment: Make sure that your room is dark and quiet — if that’s a challenge, a sleeping mask and some earplugs can work wonders — and that you’re comfortable with your mattress, pillows and blankets.
- Keep it consistent: You’ll have a much easier time going to bed at a reasonable hour if you’re diligent about sticking to it every night (yes, that means weekends, too).
- Beware burnout: If a major reason you’re having trouble sleeping is that you’re burning the midnight oil at work, it’s time to take action. You may want to talk to your manager, consult with HR or even find a new job that offers a better work-life balance.
Find more tips in Glassdoor’s Ultimate Guide to Getting Better Sleep.
Taking just a few small steps today can help you become more well-rested, healthier and generally on top of your game — so even if you have a history of poor sleeping habits, don’t get discouraged. As the saying goes, “the best time to start was yesterday, but the next best time is now.”