WASHINGTON, March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- A new poll released today by the National Sleep Foundation confirms what most busy Americans know already, yet few seem prepared to correct: while we may be aware of the importance of adequate sleep to performance and well-being, we're still not prepared to do much about it. Sleep experts recommend at least 8 hours of sleep a night for adults to function properly, yet NSF's 2000 Sleep in America omnibus poll found that, on average, adults sleep just under 7 hours during the work week. In fact, one third (33%) of adults sleep only 6-1/2 hours or less nightly. Even more discouraging: a full 45% of adults agree that they will sleep less in order to accomplish more. NSF's poll of 1,154 adults 18 years and older examines the effect of sleep habits upon Americans' ability to function. Results are grouped around three major issues: sleep and the workplace, fatigue among young adults, and drowsy driving. Sleepiness in the Workplace Americans now work the longest hours of any industrialized nation in the world, according to a recent study by the International Labour Organization. But as we work longer hours to get more done, individual productivity levels are suffering due to sleepiness: * One-half of the American workforce (51%) reports that sleepiness on the job interferes with the amount of work they get done. * 40% of adults admit that the quality of their work suffers when they're sleepy. * At least two-thirds of adults say that sleepiness interferes with their concentration (68%) and makes handling stress (66%) on the job more difficult. * Nearly one out of five adults (19%) report making occasional or frequent work errors due to sleepiness. * Overall, employees estimate that the quality and quantity of their work is diminished by about 30% when they are sleepy. * More than two-thirds (68%) of shift workers report problems sleeping. * Nearly one out of four adults (24%) has difficulty getting up for work two or more workdays per week. * One-third of adults would nap at work if it were allowed. (Only 16% of employees surveyed reported that their employers allow naps). Young Adults (18 - 29 year olds) "Youthful energy" may be a myth for most of the nation's young adults. Burning the candle at both ends, more than one out of two (55%) adults 18 to 29 years old admit to staying up too late to watch TV or be on the Internet; an equal percentage of the so-called "Generation Y" say they will sleep less in order to get more done. Other findings include: * The percentage of young adults suffering from significant daytime sleepiness (33%) rivals that of shift workers (29%), a notoriously tired group who battles the body's natural inclination to sleep between the hours of midnight and 6 AM. * More than half (55%) of those between the ages of 18 and 29 report "waking unrefreshed." * More than one-third (36%) of younger adults report difficulty getting up for work (compared to 20% of 30 - 64 year olds). * Nearly one-quarter of young adults (22%) are occasionally or frequently late to work due to sleepiness (compared to 11% of 30 - 64 year olds). * Forty percent of younger adults are sleepy at work at least two days a week (compared to 23% of 30 - 64 years olds). * 13% of younger adults admit to occasionally/frequently falling asleep at work. Drowsy Driving Drowsy driving causes approximately 100,000 car crashes annually. Statistics show that fall-asleep crashes are most common among younger people, with peak occurrence at age 20. According to NSF's 2000 poll: * Half of the nation's adults (51%) report driving while drowsy during the past year. * 60% of 18 - 29 year olds have driven while drowsy, with 24% reporting that they dozed off at the wheel at some point during the past year. * 42% of adults report becoming stressed while driving drowsy and 32% say they get impatient. * Among younger adults, 22% drive faster when they're tired, compared to 12% of the general adult population. * 63% of tired drivers turn to caffeine for relief; only 22% of drivers pull off the road to rest when drowsy, as recommended by safety experts. General Findings * Nearly two-thirds of American adults (62%) experience a sleep problem a few nights per week or more. * 43% of adults say they are so sleepy during the day that it interferes with their daily activities a few days a month or more; one out of five (20%) adults experience this level of daytime sleepiness at least a few days per week or more. * Nearly one out of ten adults (7%) admit to having changed jobs in order to get more sleep. National Sleep Foundation's Response to Poll Results Responding to the results of its 2000 Sleep in America poll, the National Sleep Foundation today unveiled three major public education initiatives to open America's eyes to the seriousness of sleep deprivation and the importance of healthy sleep. The National Sleep Test, conducted in partnership with Select Comfort mattress/bedding company, is a simple, five-minute quiz that can help millions of Americans identify potential sleep problems and seek information and help. The test will be promoted through a national ad and direct mail campaign and accessed through a toll-free number. A new, nationwide PSA campaign for television, radio and print media will be launched to raise public awareness of the importance of sleep and offer Americans free sleep information. The Bill of Nights is a public declaration of all people's rights regarding the benefits of healthy, sufficient sleep. All Americans are encouraged to adopt the Bill of Nights in philosophy and practice, and sign this proclamation, available on NSF's Web site at www.sleepfoundation.org. The National Sleep Foundation's (NSF) 2000 Sleep in America omnibus poll was conducted by phone during October and November 1999, among a representative sampling of the civilian household population living in the continental United States. Results have an error range of plus or minus 3 percentage points. National Sleep Awareness Week 2000 (March 27-April 2, 2000) is a public education and awareness campaign of NSF and its Cooperative Co-sponsors, including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American Sleep Apnea Association, Association of Polysomnographic Technologists, Narcolepsy Network, NIH/NHLBI/NCSDR, Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation, Sleep Disorders Dental Society, Sleep Research Society. National Sleep Awareness Week always ends on the first day of Daylight Savings Time, when the clocks "spring" forward and Americans tend to lose an hour of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by promoting public understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting sleep and fatigue-related education, research and advocacy. For a copy of the poll and information on National Sleep Awareness Week 2000 activities, visit www.sleepfoundation.org or call (202) 347-3471.
SOURCE National Sleep Foundation