The stresses and strains of modern work are causing worrying amounts of sleep deprivation among Britons, a Leeds study has found.
New research has revealed that nearly a third of Brits are left suffering from sleepless nights as a result of working more than 40 hours a week and continued work pressures.
Researchers from the University of Leeds, in a study commissioned by Silentnight, found particularly high numbers of workers in the public sector struggling to get the seven to eight hours of sleep recommended by the NHS.
People working in areas like education, health and local government slept for just six hours a night on average, while a quarter of social care workers were found to be getting five hours or less a night.
Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis is associated with serious health issues including heart problems, obesity and diabetes.
Dr Anna Weighall, lead researcher on the sleep study, explained that getting the right work-life balance appears to be challenging many Brits, describing the situation as a “real public health issue”.
“What is interesting is our research reveals a resounding message that while some jobs may be better than others for our sleep health, there is a worrying trend evident across all sectors that actually workers are suffering from consistently low levels of sleep,” she said.
“The extent to which our work is stressful and working long hours seem to be important factors associated with poor sleep.”
More worryingly 20 per cent of the 1,018 UK respondents reported high levels of daily dysfunction due to tiredness, such as issues staying awake, driving and concentrating.
Best and worst jobs for sleep
Best: Working in the great outdoors seemed to tally with good sleep during the study. Sports, fitness and tourism workers were among the best sleepers, getting the recommended seven to eight hours a night.
Worst: Researchers found that public sector workers, in areas like education, local government and health care, slept for only six hours a night on average. People in high pressure business management and consultancy roles also suffered low levels of sleep, with around half surveyed saying they got five hours or less a night. Similarly a quarter of social care workers reported getting five hours or less per night.