Sleep, Work Hours, and Career Choices

I know there are limits on how many hours a trucker can drive per day and limits on how many hours an airline pilot can fly per day.  I even think there are some limits on hours that a resident can work in a day.  These are all within the past decade.

It struck me as interesting earlier today when I thought about the fact that it is the jobs to which we trust our lives and/or have the highest likelihood of harming us where people are most likely to have worked the most hours and slept the least.  Given all the research on the impact of sleep on our health and our decision making ability, shouldn’t this be a bigger concern for us?

  1. People with weapons – police and military – are highly likely to work in stressful positions with long days.
  2. People in the healthcare field – pharmacists, nurses, physicians – are highly likely to work in stressful positions with long days.
  3. People who provide transportation – taxi drivers, bus drivers, airline drivers, truckers – are highly likely to work long hours (at least historically).  [I assume these may be stressful jobs, but I don’t know.]

I’m sure there are more, but these were the 3 buckets that jumped out at me.

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