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About 1 in 3 American adults sleep less than 7 hours per night. Sleeping less than 7 hours each night for a prolonged period can lead to physiological and neurobehavioral deficits.

woman sleeping

health effects

Commonly associated outcomes of workplace stress and sleep deficiency include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, psychological distress, emotional exhaustion, cynical attitudes, and cognitive impairments.


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cognitive delay

Sleep deprivation leads to impairments in cognitive and motor performance that are comparable to those induced by alcohol consumption at or above the legal limit.

arms in the air holding glasses of alcohol

increased injury

Sleep deficiency can increase individual- and unit-performance problems including daytime fatigue, human error-related accidents, difficulty focusing, impairments in cognitive and motor performance, drowsy driving, work-related injuries and fatal accidents.

woman at the doctor's office with a broken leg

financial cost

Sleep deficiency incurs direct medical costs for sleep loss/disorders and indirect costs related to absenteeism, productivity and property damage.

Derelict building with a bag of money outside

family conflict

Couples who both sleep for less than 7 hours a night tend to experience more conflict and more difficulty resolving marital problems.

Frequent family tension

and inadequate emotional support is strongly associated with troubled sleep, creating a vicious cycle.

A couple fighting

the importance of sleep


tracking your sleep

The first step to helping you optimize your sleep is to understand your sleep patterns to see where improvements can be made. You can do this is with a wrist worn activity tracker like a FitBit or Apple Watch, a sleep app on your phone, a bedside device like a Google Nest, or a simple notebook. 


While we do not endorse any specific device, have included a list of various types of devices here and instructions for how to set up a sleep log here.


We recommend tracking your sleep anywhere from 1 week to 1 month, in order to identify patterns that form.

Wrist worn activity tracker
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Cell phone showing overall time in bed


Sleep experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Go through and count the number of nights where you have less than 6 hours of sleep. If more than 20% of your sleeping periods recorded are less than 6 hours, you might have an issue with insufficient sleep.


Ideally, you should have similar bedtimes and waketimes each day. When you look over your sleep times, do you see a lot of shifting? Are you going to sleep at 9PM one day and 12:30AM the next? If you do then irregular sleep could be an issue.

Sleep experts recommend trying to consistently stay within at least a two-hour window of going to bed and waking up each day, even on weekends. More than that and your body can experience what scientists call social jet-lag, which could impair your thinking and functioning.

Cell phone showing consistency of sleep times
Cell phone showing sleep fragmentation


Everyone moves around a bit at night, but if you know you are waking up repeatedly then you may be experiencing sleep fragmentation.


If you feel like you sleep through the night but do not feel well rested, look for movement ‘popping up’ during sleep time, or even a break in sleep. This might give you a clue as to the cause. It is important to remember that activity trackers and phone apps are not as sensitive as those used in a sleep study. If you see a lot of activity in your sleep data but you feel well rested, you probably are.

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