From Our 2010 Archives
Sleepless Nights Plague America
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MONDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News)-- Americans of all races toss and turn in bed each night, and sleeplessness is affecting their jobs, social lives and even their sexual habits, the latest poll on U.S. sleep habits finds.
"Everybody is sleeping less; we do live in a nation of sleepy people," said Dr. Jose Loredo, a professor of medicine and director of the Sleep Medicine Center at the University of California, San Diego, and a member of the committee that conducted the National Sleep Foundation poll, titled 2010 Sleep in America.
The survey of 1,007 adults across the country found that people sleep almost two hours less than they did 40 years ago. "You need about 8.5 hours of sleep a night," he added.
"Sleep duration is a very important variable in health, especially cardiovascular health," Loredo said. "There is a strong association of sleeping less and hypertension, sleeping less and heart attacks, sleeping less and obesity," he said.
Many Americans seemingly know this, as more than three-quarters surveyed acknowledged that too little shuteye can have serious health consequences.
Too little sleep also takes a toll on daily living, with up to 24% saying they have missed work or social engagements because they were too tired. And among married people or couples living together, as many as 26% said that they were too tired to have frequent sex.
For the first time, the annual report also identifies differences in sleep habits among blacks, whites and Hispanics. These include:
What accounts for these ethnic differences isn't clear, Loredo said. "The differences could be cultural or the environment," he said.
Television keeps many people awake, Loredo noted. As does the recession.
Dr. Bruce A. Nolan, an associate professor of clinical neurology, psychiatry and behavioral sciences and medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said the economic crisis is a common cause of sleeplessness.
"Many people are experiencing more difficulty with sleep related to economic, social and personal circumstances," he said. "It really says that bad days lead to bad nights."
But efforts to improve sleep habits will pay off, Nolan said. "Better quality of sleep gives better quality of life and also gives better performance during the daytime," he said. That helps people to feel better and function better, he said.
The National Sleep Foundation has some tips for getting a good night's sleep:
Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
SOURCES: Jose Loredo, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine, medical director, Sleep Medicine Center, University of California, San Diego; Bruce A. Nolan, M.D., associate professor of clinical neurology, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, medical director, Sleep Disorders Center, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; March 8, 2010, National Sleep Foundation, report, 2010 Sleep in America
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