by Meridith Levinson

Tossin’ and Turnin’: Jobs that literally keep us up at night.

Apr 18, 20083 mins

Work-related stress keeps 51 percent of Americans up every Sunday night.

Just the idea of having to go to work Monday morning is enough to keep Americans awake Sunday night. That’s the conclusion of a recent survey of over 24,000 site visitors from the U.S., U.K., Sweden and parts of western Europe.


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Half of working Americans who responded to the survey (51 percent) report having trouble sleeping every Sunday night because of work-related stress or anxiety. One in five American respondents (18 percent) say work woes never prevent them from getting their Zzzzs on a Sunday. The same number indicate they have trouble sleeping a couple Sundays a month, and 13 percent say work rarely causes them to lose shut-eye come Sunday night.

Does the thought of going to work Monday affect your Sunday night’s sleep?

Yes, every week Never Fairly often, a couple times per month Rarely, only when I’m working on a big project Total votes
U.S. 51% 18% 18% 13% 5,767
U.K. 53% 17% 19% 11% 2,706
France 29% 17% 24% 30% 1,578
Germany 40% 20% 19% 21% 2,883
Italy 37% 28% 12% 23% 777
Belgium 35% 28% 15% 18% 3,088
Sweden 37% 24% 19% 19% 2,138

Source:’s anecdotal survey results are backed by scientific research, which has proven that work-related stress can impair sleep. A 2007 study in the journal Social Science Medicine found that people with too much work didn’t get a good night’s sleep, according to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The American Psychological Association (APA) found in a 2007 study that one out of two (48 percent) Americans can’t sleep due to stress, and that work is the leading cause of 74 percent of Americans’ stress. The leading causes of stress in the workplace are, according to the APA:

  • low salaries (44 percent)
  • lots of work (41 percent)
  • lack of opportunities for advancement (40 percent)
  • uncertain job expectations (40 percent)
  • long hours (39 percent)

The impact of stress and sleep loss on productivity is also well-documented. The National Sleep Foundation says sleep deprivation costs U.S. employers approximately $18 billion in lost productivity each year. According to the APA’s 2007 survey, 55 percent of workers say that stress hinders their productivity on the job. CIO reported in 2003 that stress also distorts people’s judgment and decision making and impairs their memory and concentration.

In spite of the statistics from and the APA, Dr. Clifford Saper, the chairman of Boston, Mass.-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s neurology department, says people’s problems sleeping on Sunday night have less to do with work-related stress and more to do with “circadian time shifting and sleep satiation.” In other words, because people tend to stay up late and sleep in on weekends, by the time bedtime comes Sunday night, they’re not tired enough to hit the sack.

Does the thought of going to work on Monday ever keep you up Sunday night?