Your Boss Gets More Sleep Than You Do — Survey Uncovers the Sleep Gap in the Workplace

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Bosses Sleep Better

It’s a universal truth that a lack of quality sleep can make anyone irritable and less inclined to tick off everything on their to-do list. But what if this pervasive sleep deprivation is not just a personal issue but also a professional one? It seems that in the corporate world, the higher you climb the ladder, the better you sleep. This fascinating (but not surprising) insight comes from a survey conducted by Expert Reviews in November 2023 (1). The study, which included 4,270 adults from Great Britain, revealed a clear sleep hierarchy in the workplace — bosses and upper management tend to get more sleep than their employees.

Sleep is a fundamental element of health and well-being, and these results shed light on an intriguing aspect of workplace dynamics, a disparity with notable impact on personal wellbeing and professional performance.

Key Findings of the Expert Reviews Survey

The survey, conducted by YouGov for Expert Reviews, involved over 4,000 adults and employed a methodology focused on representativeness and reliability. Participants, chosen randomly from YouGov’s extensive panel, provided insights into how sleep patterns vary across professional levels.

  • Sleep and seniority: An impressive 77 percent of CEOs feel they get enough sleep, a stark contrast to the mere 38 percent of non-managerial staff who feel the same. Even more telling is that 100 percent of chairpersons believe they are well-rested, revealing a significant sleep disparity across professional roles.
  • Napping trends among professionals: The survey also highlighted napping habits. CEOs nap 39 percent more than managers and significantly more than other professionals, aligning with a 2023 UCL study suggesting naps can improve mental performance (2). However, business owners, despite their seniority, nap less, aligning more with lower-level employees in their sleep patterns.
  • The impact of mattress quality: An interesting aspect of the study is the emphasis on mattress quality. A majority of the respondents (71 percent of women and 68 percent of all participants) acknowledged that the quality of their mattress significantly impacts their sleep.

Uncovering the Sleep Divide 

Senior professionals, such as CEOs and chairpersons, often report better sleep quality than their junior counterparts. Expert Reviews editor Monica Horrige shared a theory that this could be attributed to their expertise in delegation, freeing them from the day-to-day tasks that often plague lower-level managers. Additionally, their experience might have taught them the value of sleep for effective work performance, leading to a conscious effort to prioritize rest. “Our second theory is that those with more senior roles have worked for longer and, therefore, have more experience and knowledge on how sleep impacts work performance; this could be why they prioritize sleep, allowing them to sleep more,” she says.

“In basic terms, our data [suggests] that as management responsibility increases, there’s a higher likelihood of reporting sufficient sleep,” says Horridge. The link between sleep and work performance is stark. Horridge believes this data suggests senior professionals prioritize sleep more than their junior counterparts. “Perhaps [this is] because they have learned over time how important sleep is to their productivity and work performance,” says Horridge.  

It may be that higher-level workers better understand that good sleep is essential for heightened cognitive functions like problem-solving, creativity, decision-making, and concentration. However, it’s also worth considering how financial security, job satisfaction, and workplace stress may impact these results. 

For instance, studies support the notion that inadequate sleep reduces job satisfaction, work engagement, overall happiness, quality of life, health, and productivity (3). What’s more, science indicates that employees who exhibit enhanced focus, sharp memory, proactive behavior, and good interpersonal skills are more likely to secure promotions that lead them to managerial roles, such as those that belong to the better sleepers in the survey (4).

In fact, getting a good night’s sleep dramatically influences your capacity to focus, think with clarity, and make informed decisions, all essential abilities for maintaining work productivity and, as a result, climbing the workplace ladder to upper management (5).

One interesting caveat — the survey reveals that business owners generally get less sleep than other senior roles. This could be due to the stress and responsibility of owning a business, including financial liability. “The success of their business depends on their performance, which can be very stressful and demanding. Perhaps some owners work more, so have less time to sleep or are simply too stressed to get enough sleep,” says Horridge. 

So, it may be a question of chicken or egg — do senior professionals prioritize sleep because they know its value, or do they simply get more sleep because their less stressful and more enjoyable lifestyles allow for it?

Napping Habits Among Professionals

Survey results show some interesting trends in the practice of napping. Higher-ranking professionals tend to nap more frequently compared to those in non-managerial roles (there were no questions regarding nap length). 

Chairpersons stand out as the most well-rested group, with 100 percent agreeing that they get enough sleep and 41 percent frequently indulging in naps. CEOs follow closely, with 77 percent feeling they get adequate sleep and nearly half (48 percent) regularly taking naps. In contrast, individuals without management responsibilities report the least amount of sleep satisfaction (38 percent) and the lowest tendency to nap (12 percent), revealing a clear difference in napping habits and overall rest across different job roles.

It’s difficult to know if a napping habit is a strategic choice that higher-level professionals make to enhance their mental performance or if their roles and lifestyles generally allow for more rest time.

Mattress Quality Is a Significant Factor in Sleep

Participants also emphasized the role of their mattress quality in how well they sleep. Expert Reviews editor Gareth Thomas says aspects like firmness, temperature regulation, and motion transfer significantly impact sleep quality. Lifestyle factors like alcohol and caffeine consumption or screen time before bed are also crucial. 

Thomas stresses the importance of finding the right mattress for your specific needs. “Regardless of the quality of your chosen mattress, if it’s too firm for your sleeping preferences, it may negatively impact your sleep quality; on the other hand, someone else may have a better experience with a firmer mattress and would rather avoid those on the softer side,” he explains. Crucially, Thomas says, you should have a mattress well suited to your sleeping style while remaining supportive enough to not wake up with aches and pains. 

Policy Implications for Organizations

Getting control of your sleep quality starts at home, including finding the right mattress. However, strategies such as employer-sponsored mental health programs can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve sleep, and lead to a positive financial return on investment (6).

Research shows that improving sleep and lowering stress levels can increase your chances of being productive and earning more — all factors that a healthy workplace environment should encourage and foster from within.

Based on the survey findings, Expert Review editors recommend that organizations:

  • Educate employees so they are aware of the effects that sleep can have on work performance. This education should include tips for maintaining a healthy sleep routine. 
  • Offer flexible work, such as remote options, to accommodate individuals with diverse sleep patterns and preferences. Working from home may allow some employees a few extra hours of sleep. 
  • Promote a healthy work culture. Creating a workplace that values and prioritizes employee well-being could help promote healthy sleeping habits.
  • 1. Hoskyn, Jane. “75 facts about sleep: Fascinating statistics you should know,” Expert Reviews;; December 12, 2023.

  • 2. Garfield, Victoria; Paz, Valentina; Dashti, Hassan S. “Study: Napping may be beneficial for your brain – here’s how,” UCL;; June 27, 2023.

  • 3. Magnavita N, Garbarino S. Sleep, Health and Wellness at Work: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2017; 14(11):1347.

  • 4. Zhang, Y., Wang, F., Cui, G. et al. When and why proactive employees get promoted: A trait activation perspective. Curr Psychol 42, 31701–31712 (2023).

  • 5. Pilcher June J., Morris Drew M.; “Sleep and Organizational Behavior: Implications for Workplace Productivity and Safety,” Frontiers in Psychology; Vol. 11; 2020;

  • 6. Bondar J, Babich Morrow C, Gueorguieva R, et al. Clinical and Financial Outcomes Associated With a Workplace Mental Health Program Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(6):e2216349. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.16349

Rachel MacPherson

Rachel MacPherson

Rachel MacPherson, BA, is a CPT, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Exercise Nutrition Specialist, Certified Pre/Post-Partum Fitness Trainer, and Pain-Free Performance Specialist. She's passionate about providing readers with straightforward, actionable tips to make living an active, vibrant, fulfilling life easier. When she's not writing, you can find her lifting heavy things, reading, exploring outdoors, or watching the newest iteration of the Star Wars Universe. She lives with her family and pets in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada.

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