March 1, 2009

Poll: Economy robbing one-third of sleep

The U.S. economy and other personal financial concerns are robbing some one-third of U.S. adults of sleep, a poll indicates.

The poll for the National Sleep Foundation says the number of people reporting sleep problems has increased 13 percent since 2001. In the past eight years, the number of Americans who sleep less than six hours a night jumped from 13 percent to 20 percent, and those who reported sleeping eight hours or more dropped from 38 percent to 28 percent.

It's easy to understand why so many people are concerned over the economy and jobs, but sacrificing sleep is the wrong solution, David Cloud, chief executive officer of the National Sleep Foundation said in a statement. Sleep is essential for productivity and alertness and is a vital sign for one's overall health.

About 40 percent of Americans agree that sleep is as important as diet and exercise to overall health and well-being -- yet only 32 percent of Americans who report sleep problems discuss them with their doctor, Cloud said.

More than one-half of adults say they have driven when drowsy at least once in the past year and nearly one-third of drivers polled say they have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving a vehicle.

The poll of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted by WB&A Market Research, from Sept. 22 to Oct. 30, and has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.1 percentage points.