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Results of a National Sleep Foundation survey

The second annual "Sleep in America," survey, conducted in early 1999, queried 1,014 Americans about their sleep problems and habits. Some of the findings:

  • 40% of adults say that they are so sleepy during the day that it interferes with their daily activities.
  • 62% of adults (72% of men and 54% of women) reported driving while feeling drowsy.
  • 27% (36% of men and 20% of women) said they have dozed off while driving in the past year.
  • Daytime sleepiness is unexpectedly high among children at school. According to parent reports, 60% of children under the age of 18 complained of feeling tired during the day, and 15% admitted to falling asleep at school.
  • Teenagers are more likely to complain of being tired during the day than are younger children (23% of teenagers vs. 11% of younger children).

Drowsy driving causes at least 100,000 crashes in the United States each year, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports.

Poor Quality Sleep is Widespread

The NSF survey found that more than sixty percent of Americans (62%) experience problems sleeping a few nights a week or more. Fifty-six percent of adults report experiencing one or more symptoms of insomnia, including difficulty falling asleep, waking during the night, waking too early, or waking feeling unrefreshed.

Smokers and people who use alcohol as a sleep aid are more likely to have problems sleeping. According to the NSF survey, of the 28% who said they smoke, 46% reported experiencing symptoms of insomnia, compared to 35% of nonsmokers. And of the 14% of adults who reported using alcohol to help them sleep, 64% said they wake frequently during the night, compared to 32% of those who never use alcohol as a sleep aid.

Treatment of Sleep Problems

While about 70% of adults surveyed said they are aware that most sleep problems do not go away without treatment, only a small fraction (4%) of adults who are experiencing frequent sleep problems are currently seeking treatment. And nearly two thirds (61%) of U.S. adults have never been asked by their doctor how well they sleep.

Knowledge About Sleep

Knowledge of sleep is poor among both men and women, across all ages and occupations, and regardless of the level of education achieved. Eighty-three percent of the adult public failed NSF's test of sleep knowledge.

Read the National Sleep Foundation Study. End of Article

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