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Poll: Americans working more, sleeping less

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Americans are working more, sleeping less and having sex less often than they did just five years ago, a shift that is contributing to unhealthier lifestyles, according to a new poll.

The National Sleep Foundation, a nonprofit public health organization, polled 1,004 adults at least 18 years old, asking a variety of questions about their sleep habits. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The poll, released Monday, found that many Americans say they do not want to give up any more sleep in spite of their hectic daily schedules and that they would sleep more if convinced it would contribute to a healthier life. At the same time, the poll found most Americans sacrifice sleep and leisure activities above all else.

"We have our work cut out for us to educate Americans that a good night's sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Americans must make time for sleep," said Richard Gelula, the director of the foundation.

The foundation recommends at least eight hours of sleep a night. According to the poll, 63 percent of American adults do not get that much. In fact, nearly one-third of the respondents reported sleeping less than seven hours per weeknight. Thirty-eight percent said they work more than 50 hours a week.

The poll also found one in five adults is so sleepy during the day it interferes with daily activities at least a few days a week.

"There is a direct relationship between hours worked and its negative impact on sleep," said James Walsh, the foundation's vice president.

But 85 percent of respondents said they would sleep more if they knew it would improve their health.

Here are other highlights from the poll:

  • 52 percent of American adults said they spend less time having sex than they did five years ago.

  • 38 percent of the respondents said they have sex less than once a week.

  • 12 percent of married couples reported sleeping alone.

  • 69 percent of the respondents said they experience frequent sleep problems.

  • Not surprisingly, sleep problems are most prevalent in households with children under the age of 18. Married people with children average less sleep during the week than those without children, 6.7 hours per night compared with 7.2 hours per night.

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    National Sleep Foundation
    Sleep Research Society

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