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If you're sleepy, read on


June 3, 1997
Web posted at: 10:00 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT)

From Correspondent Dan Ronan

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Many people say it happens about an hour after lunch: a feeling of fatigue that can almost be overwhelming.

"It's the 2 o'clock slump -- I think we're all familiar with that," said one young woman. "Don't get enough sleep, you eat the wrong lunch, you don't get enough exercise.

"Or you don't find something exciting enough to do in the afternoon," she added with a bright-eyed smile.

Dan Ronan Reports: VXtreme streaming video

A new survey by the National Sleep Foundation concludes that 63 million adults, about one-third of the U.S. population, have trouble staying awake during the day. Six percent of those surveyed classify their problem as severe.

"We feel that television, the Internet probably now, social activities are tending to cut into people's time available for sleep," said the foundation's Dr. Michael Thorphy. "Also, work habits -- people tend to be working longer hours now than they used to."


Of those who have problems staying awake, 23 percent say sleeplessness interferes with their social life; 16 percent say sleep problems interfere with family activities; and 12 percent say it affects their driving.

And sleep depravation can have dangerous consequences. The report says many people are driving their cars when they're exhausted, causing about 100,000 accidents a year, about 1,500 of them fatal.

"There have been times driving I have personally felt -- you can feel a little tired," a young man admitted. "I pull over and get a Mountain Dew, or something with high caffeine, high sugar content, and keep going."

To fight daytime sleepiness, 70 percent of those questioned say they drink coffee or caffeinated products; another 19 percent say they take naps.

"If I can slip away for 5-10 minutes and just rest, relax," said a man in a coat and tie. "That's about the only thing you can do during a work day. Or leave work early, go straight home and take a snooze."

How much sleep is enough varies from person to person, although six to eight hours are still considered about right for most people. One of the best indicators is how long it takes to get up in the morning.


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