sleepdayGiven today is World Sleep Day, it’s time to reflect on which professions get the least sleep – with lawyers, police officers and paramedics topping the list, followed by economists, social workers and computer programmers.

“It’s an eclectic list,” agrees Dr Carmel Harrington, a Consultant Sleep Scientist to Australia’s leading sleep company ResMed.

“But it does raise the importance of getting a good night’s sleep – especially if you’re a shift worker, and find it hard to ‘switch off’.”

If your profession appears in the most sleep deprived list, which was compiled using data from the U.S’ CDC’s National Health Survey, take comfort in these sleep solutions:

• Try to sleep at regular hours
• Do not exercise or eat a big meal within three hours of bedtime
• Open the curtains in the morning so that daylight can support your circadian rhythm
• Keep a sleep diary to see which of your daily or nightly behaviours help or hinder your sleep.

“It’s important to realise that good sleep is critical to our physical and mental wellbeing,” says Dr Harrington. “If you feel tired in the day – and you snore – then you should check that you don’t have a more serious sleep issue like sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea symptoms can include:
• Snoring
• Headache upon waking
• Dry mouth in the morning
• Feeling generally ‘flat’ or even depressed
• Your partner reports that you stop breathing at night.

“If you have some or all of these symptoms you may have sleep apnea and it’s important to speak with your GP about this. A diagnosis of sleep apnea – through an overnight sleep test – is an easy and accessible procedure,” says Dr Harrington.

“The important thing is that, especially on World Sleep Day, you should take time to look at your sleep habits and give them a spring clean.

“A good night’s sleep is invigorating and makes us feel great – sleeping well is one of the joys of life – so we need to make sure we get the quality and quantity of sleep we need; no matter our profession.”

Who gets the least sleep?

1. Home Health Aides
2. Lawyers
3. Police Officers
4. Physicians, Paramedics
5. Economists
6. Social Workers
7. Computer Programmers
8. Financial Analysts
9. Plant Operators
10. Secretaries

Who gets the most sleep?

1. Forest, Logging Workers
2. Hairstylists
3. Sales Representatives
4. Bartenders
5. Construction Workers
6. Athletes
7. Landscapers
8. Engineers
9. Aircraft Pilots
10. Teachers

For background to these stats, go to: and

For more information on sleep apnea, go to:

For more information on Dr Carmel Harrington, go to:

For more information on World Sleep Day, which takes place on Friday 14 March, go to: