Do you wake up grumpy? Or do you let him sleep? OK, it's an old joke, but a new poll confirms what millions of Americans already knew: They don't get enough sleep. The market research study shows that more than a third of us get less sleep than we did five years ago, and about two-thirds say they suffer from sleep deprivation.
To that, bleary-eyed workers on the job for more than 40 hours every week, and perennially exhausted working mothers, collectively and sleepily respond, “So this is news?”
The poll was conducted by WB&A Market Research for the National Sleep Foundation, and it underscores what many doctors have contended for a long time. A lack of sleep does more damage than make people groggy and tired. It can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Those who suffer from depression, heartburn, cancer, and arthritis also have problems sleeping.
And there are other serious concerns.
Striking Comair pilots want more time to rest between flights. Truck drivers who travel long hours in an attempt to make deadlines often don't get enough sleep. And the prospect of falling asleep at the wheel is worrisome to any motorist.
The usual alibi: We're just too busy. People try to “catch up” on their sleep on the weekend, but it's impossible to recapture lost sleep. Besides, there are no guarantees, even on the weekend.
Maybe President Bush should just issue an executive order to force Americans to get more sleep. We'd all be ranting about excessive governmental intrusion in our lives, but at least we'd be wide awake for the fight.