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1 in 3 Americans Gets Less Than 7 Hours of Sleep: CDC
Date:3/4/2011

n CDC's division of chronic disease prevention, looked at the impact of sleep deprivation on the ability to perform daily activities.

In that group, 37.1 percent reported getting less than seven hours sleep a night, and about one-quarter of these people said they had trouble concentrating. About 18 percent reported memory difficulties, and 8.6 percent said they were so sleepy during the day that it was hard to perform well at work.

People who slept less than seven hours were more likely to have all these problems, compared with people who got seven to nine hours of sleep a night, the researchers said. Increasing sleep time would likely improve everyday functioning, they added.

Chronic sleep loss also is associated with obesity, increased risk of death and other health problems, notes the CDC, which released these studies in conjunction with National Sleep Awareness Week, March 7 to 13.

For a good night's rest, people need to maintain a consistent sleep schedule and avoid stimulating activities like exercise close to bedtime, Wheaton said.

"The bedroom should be conducive to sleep. Not too hot, there is not too much light, not a lot of noise -- so it's just a comfortable environment," Wheaton said.

"Sometimes we just have to unplug," McKnight-Eily added. "Unplug the TV, unplug the radio, our BlackBerrys and computers."

Commenting on these reports, sleep specialist Dr. Shirin Shafazand said insufficient sleep "has an impact on how [people] perceive their quality of life, and their ability to concentrate, and their memory and learning skills."

Although all the benefits of sleep aren't known, studies have found it aids memory, learning and hormonal balance, which may be why lack of sleep is linked to obesity, added Shafazand, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

"It is clear that a lot of restorative activities are going on in the body during sleep," Shafazand
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