Money Never Sleeps – Who Sleeps and Earns the Most

Money Never Sleeps – Who Sleeps and Earns the Most

This article was originally featured on Tuck.com. To learn more about Tuck, please visit Tuck's 'About' page.  

When it comes to success, we all know the stereotype: the successful don’t sleep. Whether it’s a tech CEO leading a risky new startup or a famous author working on her latest best-seller, everyone believes that earning more means working more, and working more inevitably means sleeping less. It’s a trade-off most of us expect to make eventually, if we’re not making it already.

Yet when it comes to scientific data to back up this idea, there’s often not much to be found. At Tuck, we wanted to know: how does the sleep/work trade-off really work? Is it really true—statistically true—that sleeping less means earning more? Might there be exceptions to the rule? And how do specific careers compare with one another in this regard?

Without clear answers, we decided to take scientific matters into our own hands. To get to the bottom of these questions, we went straight to one of the most authoritative sources available: the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 American Time Use Survey. Published annually since 2004, the American Time Use Survey gives analysts, journalists, and social scientists a comprehensive look at how Americans spend their days—including those huge time-takers, work and sleep.

The BLS dataset for 2016 included data from about 10,000 respondents. We used this data to run a regression analysis, which gave us the relationship between hours worked and hours slept we were looking for (read about the complete methodology here).

The results were fascinating. On the one hand, we confirmed some hunches (such as that those in legal professions would, on average, be the highest paid while working the most and sleeping the least). On the other, some results were less predictable. Scientists and architects saw quite high weekly pay, while getting close to average sleep, for instance. And teachers, who you might expect to be both low earners and low sleepers, fell almost exactly at the average in both categories. Though the rule was generally true—the more you work, the more you earn, and yes, the less you sleep—there were a few big exceptions to be found. What you’ll learn about coders will definitely surprise you.

These kinds of comparisons between professions were the real fruit of our analytical labor. Finally, we compiled them into gorgeous charts and assembled them into a handy infographic, to make reading and understanding these findings as pleasant and informative impossible. Check it out, find your job on the charts, and see how your own work and sleep numbers compare to those of other careers.

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