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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 07/10/2012

The state of sleep

In its August issue, Consumer Reports (CR) paints a sad picture of the state of American adults’ sleep experience.

In a survey of 26,451 readers, CR found that 60 percent of respondents had trouble falling or staying asleep or woke up feeling tired.

Breaking that down by employment status, CR learned that 69 percent of those without jobs suffered sleep problems, compared to 59 percent of those with jobs.

Women and people who were obese were more likely than others to report having sleep problems.

Asked what kept them awake at night, nearly half (47 percent) cited work-related stress; 28 percent blamed health problems and 22 percent cited financial worries. (That last one surprised me, given the state of the economy.)

Forty percent of respondents had tried prescription sleep drugs, and 30 percent had used over-the-counter sleep aids. Prescription drugs were generally reported to work better than OTC products, though half of those who used either kind said they’d experienced side-effects such as next-day drowsiness. Among the relatively few who used dietary supplements such as melatonin or valerian, side effects weren’t a problem, but those supplements weren’t deemed very effective in improving sleep.

CR also asked 8,900 “good sleepers” about habits they maintained to promote sound sleep. The top four of those habits: exercising during the day, unwinding for 30 minutes before going to bed, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, and having sex before sleeping.

In a companion article, CR surveyed readers about their mattress preferences. The two top-rated mattresses were the memory-foam Tempur-Pedic and Original Mattress Factory products. The best stores to buy mattresses from, readers reported, were the Original Mattress Factory and Costco.

Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Is that a big problem for you? What, if anything, do you do to try to improve your night’s sleep?

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 07/10/2012

Tags:  sleep habits

 
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