Survey finds most Americans are not getting enough sleep

A recent survey by the makers of TYLENOL® PM revealed America's sleep habits. It uncovered that most Americans are not getting enough sleep and how that deprivation impacts various aspects of life.

According to the survey:

  • Seven out of 10 Americans are getting less than seven hours of sleep on weeknights accumulating a deficit of more than one hour per night based on experts' recommendations that a full night's sleep is about eight hours.

It's not a huge surprise that lack of sleep may make you more irritable and feel off the next day. What's important to learn is that sleep deprivation impacts various aspects of your life and the quality of the lives around you. By simply making sleep a priority and making smart choices throughout the day, you can improve your overall well-being.

Caffeine: The Catch 22 -- the Culprit and the Solution

  • 86 percent of Americans consume caffeine each day and two in five consume three or more caffeinated beverages a day. The result is a vicious cycle of caffeine highs and sleepless nights. It's true that caffeine can provide a quick-fix for a tired morning or afternoon slump, but what people don't realize is that caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours – meaning the caffeine ingested at noon can leave you lying in bed awake at night. To be on the safe side, avoid caffeinated coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate after noon – not only will you have a better chance of getting a good night's sleep but you will reduce the risk of caffeine-related health problems.

Work Performance and Relationships

  • One in five Americans has missed work because of feeling tired. And many of those that do drag themselves in to work after a bad night's sleep are not very productive – a sleepless night has caused a lack of concentration during an important meeting or conversation for almost half of Americans (47 percent).

And work isn't the only thing that suffers when you're overtired, so do relationships with family and friends.

  • 72 percent of Americans have acted impatient with someone after a poor night's sleep and one in five Americans has missed a family obligation because they overslept.

Skin Damage

Sun is most typically blamed for premature skin damage but sleep deprivation can have similar long and short-term effects. The short-term effects are reflecting back at us in the mirror – dull complexions and dark circles – but the long-term effects are lingering beneath the skin's surface at times causing irreversible damage.

  • After a bad night's sleep, most Americans' (85 percent) skin suffers – the most common results are dark circles under the eyes (59 percent) and dull (31 percent) or splotchy skin (16 percent).

"Sleep allows your skin time to repair itself from the daily damage done by stress and the environment," says Dr. Jeanine Downie, certified dermatologist. "When skin does not have adequate time to repair itself, the long term effects can be similar to those of sun exposure."


Driving under the influence may be the most common self-inflicted cause of accidents, but falling asleep behind the wheel has resulted in numerous fatal car accidents.

  • One in five Americans has ever fallen asleep while driving and almost half of Americans (48 percent) "drove while drowsy" in the last month.

Simply put, imagine your car during rush hour surrounded on all sides by other vehicles – half of them are literally falling asleep at the wheel. This wake up call has prompted law makers in America to establish and enforce punishments for these drivers. A recent survey by the makers of TYLENOL® PM found that most Americans agree – a large majority of them (89 percent) feel that the law should hold a driver who falls asleep and injures another person legally accountable as a driver who is intoxicated.

To learn more sleep wellness tips, log onto to download a complimentary "Sleep for Success" booklet with information on the positive benefits of sleep and its contributions towards overall well being.

Survey conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of the makers of TYLENOL® PM.


Interviews were conducted by telephone by Harris Interactive® from January 19-30, 2004 with a total of 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18+. Data were weighted by age and education to represent the national population of adults. With 1,000 respondents, the sampling error is +/-3 percentage points. Sampling error varies when smaller base percentages are reported.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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