Interim NIOSH Training for Emergency Responders: Reducing Risks Associated with Long Work Hours

IV. Basic Information about Sleep and Fatigue

How much sleep do you need? Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep per night.

  • Sleep needs vary and may be inherited.
  • Some function well on 6 hours or less, but this is rare.
  • Most who say they do not need much sleep are not allowing themselves enough time for sleep. They use alarms to wake up and high doses of caffeine or other stimulants to try to function during the day.
  • You’ve had enough sleep if you
    • Feel refreshed when you wake
    • Don’t feel drowsy during the day
    • Don’t need much caffeine during the day
  • If you feel the opposite, then you might need more sleep.

You can use the Epworth Sleepiness Scale on the next page to test yourself. This self-administered questionnaire can help estimate how your usual level of wake-time sleepiness compares with sleepiness that is likely a concern.

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Page last reviewed: April 1, 2020