Sleepless in Seattle?

March 9, 2007 ( - More than half of American women (60%) say they only get a good night's sleep a few nights per week or less and 67% say they frequently experience a sleep problem - and nearly half (43%) say that daytime sleepiness interferes with their daily activities, according to a new poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

NSF’s 2007 Sleep in America poll sought to look at the sleep patterns of adult women (ages 18-64), as the NSF’s 2005 Sleep in America poll found that women are more likely to experience sleep problems than men.

To keep going, 65% of women surveyed use caffeinated beverages (37% of all women consume three or more caffeinated beverages per day). A small minority (8%) report that they miss work at least once a month due to sleepiness or a sleep problem – while two in ten say they were late to work more than once in the past month due to oversleeping.

Pressed for Time

Pressed for time, one-half of the women polled responded that sleep (52%) and exercise (48%) are the first things they sacrifice. More than one-third of women say they also reduce the amount of time they spend with friends and family (39%), stop eating healthy (37%) and don’t participate in sexual activity with their partner (33%) when they run out of time or are too sleepy in a day.

Work is the last thing that women say they sacrifice when pressed for time; only 20% of women responded that they would opt to put work on the back burner when they run out of time or are too sleepy.

Working mothers (72%) and single working women (68%) are more likely to experience symptoms of sleep problems like insomnia. But, stay-at-home mothers report a high level of overall sleep problems, with:

  • 74% saying they are experiencing symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights each week,
  • 59% saying they frequently wake up feeling un-refreshed and
  • 9% report co-sleeping with a child or infant (which doubtless contributes to the foregoing)

(Not) Early to Bed

Despite being frequently tired, women are not heading to bed earlier, according to the survey. In the hour prior to going to bed, instead of retiring early:

  • 87% say they watch television,
  • 60% complete the remainder of their household chores,
  • 37% do activities with children,
  • 36% do activities with other family,
  • 36% are on the Internet and
  • 21% do work related to their job at least a few nights a week.

A summary of the full study is online.