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Not Enough Sleep All Too Common

U.S. adults are sleeping less than they did two decades
ago, leaving few people feeling well-rested all the time, new CDC data

The CDC today issued two new reports that peek into the sleep habits of U.S. adults.

The first report comes from 19,589 adults in four states -- Delaware,
Hawaii, New York, and Rhode Island -- who took part in 2006 telephone

They were asked how often, during the previous 30 days, they felt they had
gotten enough rest or sleep. Here are the results:

  • 10% said they didn't get enough sleep or rest in any of the previous 30

  • About 30% said they got enough sleep or rest every day during the previous
    30 days.

Adults aged 55 and younger and people who say they were unable to work were
particularly likely to report not getting enough sleep.

Participants weren't asked how much sleep or rest they got -- just whether
they felt that they got "enough" rest or sleep. The findings might not
apply to the rest of the country.

Sleep Shortfall

More Americans are skimping on sleep than in the past, according to the
CDC's second set of sleep statistics.

In a then-and-now comparison, the CDC charted the percentage of U.S. adults
in 1985 and 2006 who report getting no more than six hours of sleep during a
typical 24-hour period.

The bottom line: Getting up to six hours of sleep was more common in 2006
than in 1985. That pattern held for all age groups and was strongest for people
aged 30-64. 

Both studies appear in the Feb. 29 edition of the CDC's Morbidity and
Mortality Weekly Report

The studies don't show why people are sleeping less. It could be because of
sleep disorders, other conditions, or lifestyle factors, including staying up
late to surf the Internet or watch TV.

Sleep Tips

The CDC notes that, according to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults
need seven to nine hours of nightly sleep to feel fully rested, and kids need more
sleep . An estimated 50-70 million people in the U.S. have chronic sleep and
wakefulness disorders, according to background information in the CDC's

If you're one of the many people who are short on sleep, here are the CDC's

  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule.

  • Sleep in a dark, well-ventilated space at a comfortable temperature.

  • Avoid stimulating activities within two hours of bedtime.

  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the evening.

  • Avoid going to bed on a full or empty stomach.

  • See a doctor if you are concerned about chronic sleep problems.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
©2005-2006 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved

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