More Than Half of Americans Start Their Day by Checking Their Emails

If you’re like most Americans, you’ve put in a few extra hours at the office from time to time. Whether that means coming in early, staying late, or working through the weekend, Americans are known for their staggering lack of work-life balance. In fact, almost a third of workers report feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and overworked in their jobs.

As one of the largest sources of lost time in the workplace, emails account for about 2.6 hours of your time every single day. With increasing demands to get more done and work longer hours, many people feel the ever-present pressure to get to inbox zero. With smartphones in our beds, and even under our pillows, we never have to take a break from email again.


To figure out just how long the average American waits until they check their email in the morning, we surveyed 1,000 Americans about when they check their inboxes. We found that most people check their email before they go into work. Here are some of the other key findings:

  • 55% of people check their email some time before they go in to work.
  • 17% of Americans check their email immediately upon waking up.
  • 1 in 3 of millennials check their email as soon as they wake up.

17% of Americans Check Their Email As Soon as They Wake Up

people check email before work

Our findings show that a surprising number of people are checking their email before they do anything else. Nearly 1 in 5 say they read their work emails immediately after waking up in the morning. Most people, 55% in fact, check their emails within an hour of waking — before ever going in to work. We know that Americans work more than other countries, with 11% working more than 50 hours a week.

The number of employers offering work from home options has risen 40% in the last five years. With the line between workspace and home blurring, employees are less likely to separate their work and personal time.

1 in 3 Millennials Check Their Work Email Immediately Upon Waking Up

millennials check email first

Known as the technologically savvy generation, it makes sense that their comfort with tech extends to their work lives. Millennials appear to be the most connected to their work emails with 30% saying they check their work emails immediately upon waking. This makes them 1.6 times as likely than older generations to check their emails immediately upon waking. 63% of millennials check their email at some time before going into work.

Despite getting a bad rap for being a lazy generation, our results are even more proof that Millennials are actually hard workers. As the Harvard Business Review points out, studies have found that millennials are more likely to leave vacation time unused, and more likely to feel guilty for taking a vacation. It’s possible this fear of taking downtime also causes Millennials to struggle to disconnect at the end of the day.

The Impacts of Checking Email First Thing

While it may feel like squeezing in a few extra emails every morning is a great way to catch up, studies have shown that checking your notifications when you first wake up actually increases your anxiety. When you’re setting your workday on an anxious place, you’re more likely to feel overwhelmed, unhappy, and ultimately underperform.

Getting a jump start on the emails for the day may seem like it’s saving you a lot of time, but in the long run it’s more likely to cost you in lost productivity and burnout.Remind yourself to step away from a task or activity in order to work more efficiently. Checking emails throughout the day can actually create more work for yourself by pausing your productivity and interrupting your workflow.

Rather than trying to squeeze in a few emails each morning try practicing healthy work-life balance habits that make you happier and more productive. Prioritize separating your work-life and home life to make sure that you are happy healthy and getting enough sleep.

how to balance work rest

Sources: Forbes | Roche | CNBC 1, 2 |

Data used for this article can be found here.

Author: Sleep Advisor

Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.

Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.

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