A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has found that as many as 10 percent of adults are not getting enough rest or sleep every night.
The study found that 38 percent of the people surveyed did not get enough sleep in seven or more days during the month.
Persistent sleep loss and sleep disorders raise the risk for a range of health problems including high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.
The researchers used data taken from 19,589 adults living in Delaware, Hawaii, New York, and Rhode Island and information from a National Health Interview Study.
The research revealed that between 1985 and 2006, the percentage of adults, across all age brackets, who are sleeping six hours or less each night has increased.
Among the four states, the percentage who reported not getting enough rest or sleep every day in the past 30 days varied from 14 percent in Delaware to 8 percent in Hawaii but the study suggests that about 50 to 70 million adult Americans suffer from chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders.
Sleep problems while they put sufferers at higher risk for mental and physical problems also make them more vulnerable to negative behaviors such as cigarette smoking, lack of physical activity, and excessive alcoholic drinking say the researchers.
The study also found that sleeplessness decreases as one ages with about 13.3 percent of adults aged 18 to 24 years reported insufficient rest or sleep everyday in the past month, while only about 7.3 percent of adults ages 55 years and older reported lack of rest or sleep.
Lead author of the study behavioral scientist Lela R. McKnight-Eily, says it is important to understand how sleep impacts on peoples' overall health.
The study found that the reasons for sleep loss could be occupational, such as busy work schedules and shift work, or lifestyle in nature such as late-night television watching, overly busy family life, excessive Internet use, and the use of caffeine and/or alcohol, especially late at night.
According to the National Sleep Foundation adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night to be adequately rested, school children aged five to twelve years require nine to eleven hours, and adolescents aged eleven to seventeen years require 8.5 to 9.5 hours each night.
People suffering from chronic sleep loss should consult their doctor for an assessment.
There are many possible treatments including behavioral or medical interventions, but experts suggest setting a regular sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine or other stimulants before bed and also ensuring the bedroom is a calm, tranquil environment.