Lack of Sleep Disrupts Quality of Life
The Sleep in America poll also finds that a lack of a good night’s sleep is interfering with a woman’s quality of life. Women report that they often choose to put healthy activities last on their priority list as they struggle through their daily lives.
When pressed for time, one-half of the women polled responded that sleep (52 percent) and exercise (48 percent) are the first things they sacrifice. Additionally, more than one-third of women say they also reduce the amount of time they spend with friends and family (39 percent), stop eating healthy (37 percent) and don’t participate in sexual activity with their partner (33 percent) when they run out of time or are too sleepy in a day.
Interestingly, work is the last thing that women say they sacrifice when pressed for time; only 20 percent of women responded that they would opt to put work on the back burner when they run out of time or are too sleepy.
About two-thirds (68 percent) of the women polled say they were working during the past month, with almost one-half (46 percent) saying that they worked full-time. Some working women (8 percent) report that they miss work at least once a month due to sleepiness or a sleep problem. In addition, two in ten say they were late to work more than once in the past month due to oversleeping (20 percent) or feeling too tired when they woke up (19 percent). About one-half of women who are working (53 percent) say that their work schedule is flexible and women between the ages of 18 and 24 are significantly more likely than their older counterparts to work non-traditional hours or overnight shifts.
Despite warnings, women are still driving drowsy. More than one-quarter (27 percent) of women polled said they have driven drowsy at least once a month in the past year; 10 percent of those who had driven drowsy did so with a child in the car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that up to 100,000 police-reported crashes annually involve drowsiness or fatigue as a principal causal factor.
"Women who spend less than 7 hours in bed at night are more likely to doze off during the day, report symptoms of depression, drive drowsy and use coping mechanisms just to make it through their day," said Kathryn Lee, PhD, a member of the National Sleep Foundation poll task force. "Furthermore, women tend to compromise the most important aspects of good health — diet, exercise and sleep — when trying to juggle the day's ongoing responsibilities. Forgoing healthy lifestyle habits in favor of more time during the day is not the solution. In fact, it can be detrimental to optimum health and performance."
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