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More work, less sleep

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A higher salary, a longer commute, a long work day, a high stress level: all can mean less sleep.

The 2005 General Social Survey asked 19,500 Canadians aged 15 and older to keep a diary of activities on a given day, including the time they fell asleep that evening and the time they awoke the next morning.

On average, someone who makes $60,000 or more a year sleeps 40 minutes less than someone who makes $20,000. High-income Canadians tend to dedicate more time to their paid work, spend less time with their children and less time at leisure activities.

Men slept for an average of 8 hours and 7 minutes, about 11 minutes less than women. However, about 35% of women reported trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, compared with only 25% of men.

People who commute an hour or more per day sleep 7 hours and 41 minutes on average. People with short commutes (1 to 30 minutes) average 22 minutes more sleep. Again, men tend to sleep less than women.

Time stress reduces the amount of sleep everyone gets. Time-crunched men get 35 minutes less sleep than those who report little time stress; similarly, stressed women get 25 minutes less sleep. Men still sleep fewer minutes per night than women, regardless of their time stress.

Working long hours means less sleep. On average, people who work more than 9 hours a day sleep for 7 hours and 32 minutes. This is 41 minutes fewer per night than people who work less than 4 hours. And it is 55 minutes less than the sleep reported by people who do not work any paid hours.