Technology & Science

Sleep duration varies according to employment, lifestyle: StatsCan

A person's employment status, gender and marital status all play a part in how much sleep they get, according to new research from Statistics Canada.

A person's employment status, gender and marital status all play a part in how much sleep they get, according to new research from Statistics Canada released Tuesday.

Canadians who commute, work longer hours and have more kids get less sleep than the rest of the population — affecting the way they live, according to the report.

"When we don't get enough sleep, our productivity and behaviour are affected," reads the report. "This impacts the quality of work we do and the quality of our family and personal life at home."

The report, which is published in the Spring 2008 edition of Canadian Social Trends, finds that a higher salary equals less sleep, with people who make $60,000 or more a year sleeping 40 minutes less than those who make $20,000, according to 2005 data.

People with high incomes also are more likely to have busy lifestyles, spending less time with their kids and participating less frequently in leisurely pastimes. As a result, their lifestyle is more stressful and results in a poorer quality of sleep.

People who work full time get less sleep than those who work part time, sleeping 24 minutes less per night.

The survey found there is no difference in sleep duration between people with no employment and part-time employment.

Commuting also cuts into sleep. People who have commutes of an hour or more sleep on average for seven hours and 41 minutes versus people with a commute of between one and 30 minutes, who sleep an average of 22 minutes longer.

Gender plays a part

While men get less sleep than women, sleeping for an average eight hours and seven minutes per night  — versus eight hours and 18 minutes — 35 per cent of women say they have trouble falling asleep versus 25 per cent of men.

Men who work full-time sleep 14 minutes less than women employed in full-time positions — which amounts to 3.5 fewer days of sleep a year.

Single people get more sleep than couples, sleeping an average of eight hours and 29 minutes a night versus eight hours and five minutes a night for people with partners.

Having children compounds the sleep problem. People with kids under 15 get less sleep than those with no children.

"It is an age old truth that kids can deprive their parents of sleep, so raising kids explains why some Canadians sleep less than others," reads the report.

Exercise changes sleep patterns

Though men benefit from working out, as long as their exercise regimen is at least three hours before bed, exercise has the opposite effect on women.

Men who exercise report having fewer problems falling asleep, while women who work out sleep 19 minutes less than those who don't. The study's authors believe that is because women who work out tend to get up earlier in the morning to go to the gym or go jogging.

The payoff? The women who work out report less trouble falling asleep (29 per cent) than those who do not (25 per cent).