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Association Between Employee Sleep With Workplace Health and Economic Outcomes

Burton, Wayne N. MD; Chen, Chin-Yu PhD; Schultz, Alyssa B. PhD; Li, Xingquan MS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 2 - p 177–183
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000934
Fast Track Article

Objective: Poor sleep can impact occupational functioning. The current study examines health risks, medical conditions, and workplace economic outcomes associated with self-reported hours of sleep among employees.

Methods: Employees of a global financial services corporation were categorized on the basis of their self-reported average hours of sleep. Differences in health care costs, productivity measures, health risks, and medical conditions were analyzed by hours of sleep while controlling for confounding variables.

Results: A strong U-shaped relationship between health care costs, short-term disability, absenteeism, and presenteeism (on-the-job work loss) and the hours of sleep was found among employees. The nadir of the “U” occurs for 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night.

Conclusions: Worksite wellness programs often address health risks and medical conditions and may benefit from incorporating sleep education.

University of Illinois at Chicago, American Express Company, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Burton); and University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan (Drs Chen, Schultz, Li).

Address correspondence to: Wayne N. Burton, MD, American Express Company, 200 Vesey Street, MC 1-38-05, New York, NY 10285-3805 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine