Americans Falling Asleep On The Job

March 28, 2001 ( - Americans have become a nation of sleep-deprived workaholics, with about 40% having trouble staying awake on the job, according to a new survey.

The survey by the National Sleep Foundation said Americans are spending more time working and less time sleeping or having sex than they did five years ago.

The 2001 Sleep in America poll found that nearly two-thirds (63%) get less than eight hours a night, while nearly a third (31%) get less than seven hours.

Forty percent say they work longer hours than five years ago, with an average workweek of 46 hours.  Roughly 38% say they work 50 hours or more a week.

Kid Stuff

Having children also takes it toll.  Adults with children are getting just 6.7 hours of sleep each night, compared with 7.1 hours for those without children. Singles with no children average about 7.1 hours/night.

To stay awake during the day, nearly half (43%) use caffeine, while 5% opt for stronger stay-alert medications.  Nearly 1 in 5 have fallen asleep at the wheel, and 1% have had an accident while driving.

More than half (51%) report trouble sleeping at least a few nights/week during the past year. 

The survey was conducted for the National Sleep Foundation by WB&A Market Research, based on a telephone poll of 1,004 American adults.