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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Study reveals that Americans are very sleepy


Americans are sleepy -- so sleepy that weakness takes over in some of the most dangerous situations. About one in 20 survey participants reported they'd dozed off while driving at least once in a month. And more than one-third of those surveyed said they unconsciously fell asleep at least once in a day.

The statistics come from two different reports from the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System and were published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
An estimated 50 million to 70 million U.S. adults experience chronic sleep disorders, according to the report, and those nights of disturbances can lead to daytime nodding off.

Those between the ages of 25 and 34 were more likely to fall asleep off while driving and men were more likely to fall asleep in the car than women.

Most of us trust that there are a lot more fall asleep crashes than reported," said Dr. Allan Pack, director of the Center for Sleep at University of Pennsylvania. "This is perhaps just the tip of the iceberg. It's probably not reported exactly because a number of states don't even having a 'falling asleep while driving' tick in the box when reporting a car crash.

The first report noted that among the nearly 75,000 participants surveyed in 12 states, 35 percent of them slept less than seven hours in a day. Those who got less than the optional seven to eight hours of sleep were more likely to nod off while driving. Nearly half of Americans reported they snored.

I am not sure that people be aware of the biology of all this," said Pack. "I think people accept as true that if they cut back on their sleep there is no real consequence. Everyone knows the dangers of alcohol, but I don't think people understand the dangers of sleepy driving."

Those who slept less than eight hours were also more likely to have difficulty concentrating, remembering, working on hobbies and taking care of their finances.

We need more and more education of the public, said Rosalind Cartwright, head of the department of psychology at Rush University Medical Center, "and knowledge of help through accredited sleep centers to rule out or treat obvious causes of poor sleep and to support good sleep hygiene to improve sleep quality."

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