Sleepless in Seattle has nothing on Canada where roughly 3.9 million people, or 26% of the country’s work force, have called in sick to catch up on sleep according to a new study by and IPG Mediabrands.

Taking into account those sick days, sleep deprivation has cost companies almost three-quarters of a billion dollars in lost man hours. The study found that 62% of Canadians suffer from some form of sleep problem, with about one in five being sleepless on a frequent basis. Over 3,000 respondents took part in a two-part survey, which also put Kitchener, Ontario on top as Canada’s sleepless capital. Saskatoon and Vancouver rounded out the Top 3.

“Surprisingly, but perhaps not to some, Toronto enjoys the best sleep in the country,” said Chris Herlihey, Vice President Research at IPG Mediabrands. “The cities topping the list have a higher percentage of kids living at home versus Toronto, which has more singles compared to the rest of the country. No matter how you slice it, however, lack of sleep is a serious problem. Sleeplessness is impacting people physically and they’re looking to catch up on sleep whenever they can even if it means calling in sick for some rest.”

When asked how often do you suffer from sleeplessness?


Kitchener/Waterloo 76%
Saskatoon 72%
Vancouver 72%
St. Catharines/ Niagara 70%
Sherbrooke 69%
Oshawa 68%
St. John’s 67%
Calgary 67%
Regina 66%
London 66%
Windsor 61%
Hamilton 61%
Winnipeg 59%
Quebec 59%
Montreal 59%
Halifax 56%
Ottawa-Gatineau 56%
Edmonton 56%
Victoria 55%
Toronto 47%Average 62%

What’s Keeping You Up at Night?

Part two of the study asked 1,000 Canadians what was keeping them up at night. Of the 20 different criteria listed, pain was the most often cited reason for keeping respondents awake at night (46%), followed by uncomfortable room temperature (31%) and work stress (29%). Other notable reasons for sleeping problems are illness (27%), their partner’s snoring (21%), too much caffeine (18%) and indigestion or heartburn (18%).

Asleep on Our Feet

The most common place to fall asleep is on the couch watching TV, where 72% have done so occasionally or frequently. Outside the home, over two in ten regularly fall asleep on public transportation (23%), or during classes/lectures (22%). One in six have at least occasionally nodded off at work (their desk, during meetings or conferences), or at work areas designated for naps (14%), at the movies (14%), plays/live theatre (13%), and at a place of worship (11%). Others have fallen asleep at a party or social event (8%), or have nodded off while driving (6%). While not easy to do, 5% also indicated falling asleep while standing up.

Counting Sheep

To get back to sleep, respondents are most likely to change their sleeping position, a third use the bathroom, while a quarter read or watch TV. Using some form of medication was commonly cited with almost three in ten taking a pain relief medication, while half as many take a sleep aid to help them get back to sleep. A large number of people turn to their devices with one in six playing games on the computer/tablet or smartphone, while the same number go online, and one in ten check social media. And finally, some still turn to the age-old method of counting sheep (6%).

Full findings from the study can be found at

About IPG Mediabrands

IPG Mediabrands was founded by Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG) in 2007 to manage all of its global media-related assets. Today that means we manage and invest $37 billion in global media on the behalf of our clients, employ over 7,500 diverse and daring marketing communication specialists worldwide and operate our company businesses in more than 127 countries.

A proven entity in helping clients maximize business results through integrated, intelligence-driven marketing strategies, IPG Mediabrands is committed to driving automated buying, pay-for-performance and digital innovation solutions. In Canada, IPG Mediabrands is represented by Cadreon, Initiative, m2, Reprise, and UM.

Contact Information

Andrew Findlater
SELECT Public Relations


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