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Americans Sleepier Than Ever

end to show that immune systems don't work as well."

More than 70 million Americans are affected by sleep problems, according to the National Institutes of Health. The problems are worse in women, and they worsen for both genders with age.

This random telephone survey of 1,000 individuals across the country, conducted at the end of 2007, found:

  • Respondents spend an average of almost 4.5 hours each week doing additional work from home. That's after an average 9.5-hour workday.
  • One quarter of respondents have an eight-to-nine-hour workday; one quarter work nine to 10 hours per day; a third work 10 or more hours daily.
  • 28 percent said that daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities at least a few days each month.
  • 29 percent reported falling asleep or being sleepy at work in the past month.
  • Respondents got an average of six hours and 40 minutes sleep per night on weekdays, although they said they needed seven hours and 18 minutes to be refreshed.
  • 36 percent have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving; 32 percent were drowsy while driving at least one or two times a month; and 26 percent drive drowsy during the workday.
  • 20 percent have lost interest in sex or have sex less often because of sleepiness.
  • 12 percent reported being late to work in the past month because of sleepiness.
  • 32 percent only get a good night's sleep a few nights per month.
  • 65 percent have a sleep problem, such as difficulty falling asleep or waking up during the night; 44 percent said they had such troubles almost every night.
  • 17 percent get help falling asleep, in the form of alcohol or prescription/over-the-counter sleep medications, at least a few nights each week.
  • 58 percent drank caffeine to cope.
  • 38 percent chose foods loaded in sugar and carbohydrates.
  • 37 percent say they take naps.

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