Researchers at Williams College found that in areas where the sun sets earlier, people sleep longer — and that this longer slumber time translates into higher earnings.
The researchers’ 74-page study reveals that in the long term, just one extra hour of sleep a week increases wages by 4.9 percent.
Could these findings finally motivate our sleep-deprived society to go to bed earlier (or sleep later)? More than a third of American adults report getting less than seven hours of sleep on weekdays, according to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The researchers attribute the higher earnings to a simple cause: well-rested workers result in increased productivity. The negative health effects of inadequate sleep can impact your work life, too. They can include high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Plus, sleepiness causes accidents. Some of history’s largest disasters can be linked to sleep deprivation — the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl and the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, for example.
Changing our ways could be challenging. Sleep-associated problems might actually be on the increase. According to a report published by Persistence Market Research, the global sleep aids market is witnessing significant growth because of increasing demand for sleeping pills due to stressful modern lifestyle, rising incidence of sleep disorders due to the growing geriatric population, and initiatives by various health organizations to increase awareness about sleep disorders.
It remains to be seen whether the eye-opening survey will result in more shuteye. For now, those workers who want to use the study as a reason to sleep longer should definitely hit the hay without hesitation.
For some workers, the extra sleep may be especially beneficial. One of the study’s authors, Jeffery Shrader, told The Guardian that the biggest effects come through employees who work on commission. “If you go to work well rested, you are livelier and happier, and can sell more to increase your earnings,” he said.
But don’t switch your career thinking you’ll sleep more and earn more in a snap. If you tend to hit the snooze button, maybe a commission-centric career is not your calling. Self-motivation is a primary trait for sales positions. They can also be stressful because if you don’t sell, you don’t make as much.
To see what jobs might be a good fit, take PayScale’s Best Job for Me quiz. And if you’re curious what those commission jobs pay, just enter the job title in PayScale’s Salary Data and Career Research Center or take PayScale’s Salary Survey to generate a free salary report.