Original Article

International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 403-411

First online:

Investigating the associations between work hours, sleep status, and self-reported health among full-time employees

  • Akinori NakataAffiliated withDivision of Applied Research and Technology, MS-C24, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Email author 

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The extent to which work hours and sleep are associated with self-rated health (SRH) was investigated in full-time employees of small- and medium-scale businesses (SMBs) in a suburb of Tokyo.


A total of 2,579 employees (1,887 men and 692 women), aged 18–79 (mean 45) years, in 296 SMBs were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire from August to December 2002. Work hours, sleep, and SRH were evaluated.


Compared with those working 6–8 h/day, participants working >8 to 10 h/day and >10 h/day had significantly higher odds of suboptimal SRH [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.36 and 1.87, respectively]. Similarly, compared with those sleeping 6+ h/day and sufficient sleep, participants with short sleep (<6 h/day) and insufficient sleep had increased odds of suboptimal SRH (aOR 1.65 and aOR 2.03, respectively). Combinations of the longest work hours with short sleep (aOR 3.30) or insufficient sleep (aOR 3.40) exerted synergistic negative associations on SRH.


This study suggests that long work hours and poor sleep and its combination are associated with suboptimal SRH.


Work hour Sleep hour Subjective sleep sufficiency Sleep deprivation Self-rated health