The more physically demanding your job, the greater the chances you sleep too little or too much at night, according to a new study.
The research, presented at the annual SLEEP 2013 meeting, shows that people with jobs that require physical activity are more likely to sleep fewer than six hours a night or more than nine hours a night. Both of these sleep durations have been linked with health problems in past studies, including cancer, stroke, obesity and diabetes, as well as higher risks of car crashes.
While sleep needs differ from person to person, the National Sleep Foundation generally recommends adults to get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night.
For the new study, researchers examined the sleep patterns of more than 17,000 people, and also categorized their job types into three groups: low activity, where they sat or stood a lot (like office workers); moderate activity, where they walked a lot for their job (like postal workers); and high activity, which involves manual labor (like construction workers).
People working moderate activity jobs had higher risks of regularly sleeping too short or too long at night, compared with people who had low activity jobs. And people who worked in high activity jobs had higher risks of regularly sleeping too short at night, compared with people who had low activity jobs.
Some possible explanations for this explanation include that physically intense jobs may require longer hours -- thereby cutting into sleep time -- or that physically intense jobs tend to be be more stressful, or that the activity leads to wakefulness at bedtime.