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Study Finds Lack Of Restful Slumber Has Bay Area Residents Sleepwalking Through Life

REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) -- Nancy Sinclair didn't need a recent study to tell her insomnia and other sleep disorders are on the rise. She's living it every day.

The Alliance for Sleep conducted a major survey across the country finding that more than half of people with trouble sleeping feel frustrated and are desperate to find a solution that helps them get quality sleep and fully function the next day.

In an effort to improve their sleep, they spend $7.125 billion to buy blackout curtains, white noise machines, eye masks and other sleep aids.

Among the respondents, they listed the dramatic impact feeling drowsy has had on their lives:

  • 29% report struggles at work
  • 27% report financial struggles
  • 19% report end of a relationship with friends/family
  • 13% report end of a romantic relationship

Half of those asked say they'd give up social media for a month in return for a month of quality sleep.

Sinclair admitted she doused off while waiting to talk with KPIX.

"I was feeling OK but I did have to jerk myself awake a few minutes before you got here," she said with a chuckle. "I just have periods of intermittent insomnia caused by my poor sleep hygiene. It's my own fault can't seem to make myself go to bed when I feel tired."

The doctors at Stanford's Sleep Medicine Center are among the best at trying to find solutions for their patients. Among those specialists is Dr. Rafael Pelayo.

"I think it (the study) reemphasizes the importance of sleep in people's lives and that people are suffering and not getting enough sleep," he said. "People view sleep as an inconvenience and the reality is there's no reason we should be sleeping poorly."

Pelayo says the key is to figure out how much sleep your own body needs and change your behavior.

"People who suffer from poor sleep think there's nothing that can be done," he said. "People say I've tried everything and they really haven't. But they've tried everything for two or three nights but if it doesn't work they go back to their old patterns. We really want to change behaviors. It takes about six weeks to two months to get ingrained."

He also offered a tip. At the end of the day, you should "offload your thoughts" by writing down your concerns, worries and things you need to do tomorrow before you head to bed.

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