The surprising benefit of 4-day work weeks

There are many benefits when it comes to a four-day work week: Less burnout, lower emissions, reduced childcare costs. One surprising upside? More sleep.

Juliet Schor, an economist and sociologist at Boston College, is tracking over 180 companies around the world as they adopt four-day work weeks.

Results of the truncated schedules are still rolling in, but Schor already sees an improvement in employees’ physical and mental health, life satisfaction, and quality of life.

The early results point to employees getting more sleep, too. Workers slept nearly a full hour more per night during four-day work weeks compared to traditional 40-hour weeks. On average, workers logged 7.58 hours of sleep per night.

Schor also noted a major drop in sleep deprivation. The percentage of people getting less than seven hours of sleep per night dropped from 42.6% to 14.5% when they adopted a four-day work schedule.

The results surprised even Schor. “I wasn’t surprised that people are getting a little more sleep, but I was surprised at how robust the changes were,” she told Bloomberg in an interview.

At a time when people are burned out, stressed, and quitting at record levels, the gift of one day off each week is allowing employees to reclaim time for self-care.

When you get the sleep your body needs, your mind is sharper, you’re more creative, and you’re better prepared to take on challenges. In other words, you’re better equipped to succeed at work.

Even if your organization hasn’t pioneered a four-day work week, prioritizing sleep can improve your health, mood, and relationships.

Use the AASM’s bedtime calculator to find your ideal bedtime based on your age and wake time.

Additional resource: Watch Juliet Schor’s TED Talk, “The Case for a 4-Day Work Week”

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