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Study: A third of adults don't get enough sleep

One thing most people can use is a good night's sleep. The problem is, many adults don't get close to what we need.

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Jackie Cohen says she rarely gets enough sleep

CBS News

Forty-four-year-old Jackie Cohen is a busy entrepreneur and single mother of a two-year-old. "I never get seven hours of sleep in a night, I'm going to say, ever."

CBS News asked Cohen to chronicle a typical night.

"It's 3:20 a.m. and I did not go to sleep since 2:00 a.m., so I'm a bit overtired," Jackie said in a self-made video.

Cohen is not alone. A new report by the National Center for Health Statistics finds nearly a third of adults don't get the recommended seven hours of sleep daily.

Single moms had the greatest difficulty. About 40 percent get less than seven hours, compared to 31 percent of married women.

Dr. Daniel Barone is a neurologist at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell's Center for Sleep Medicine.

"[When we sleep], our brain is able to clear out some of the things that have built up throughout the daytime, which are not good for it," said Barone.

"Our heart's given a break, our blood vessels are allowed to relax, our blood sugar goes down."

Sleep deprivation can cause a lot more than just being tired. It's been linked to problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, mood disorders, and a weakened immune system. There's even recent evidence it may contribute to dementia and obesity.

There's just no way of getting around the need to sleep. "It's the great equalizer," Barone explained. "We all need to sleep."

  • Jonathan LaPook

    Dr. Jonathan LaPook is the chief medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News. Follow him on Twitter at @DrLaPook