Millions of Americans do not get enough sleep every day, putting them at risk of injuries and a whole range of health problems, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2010 survey of over 15,000 adults showed that 30 percent of workers—40.6 million—sleep six or fewer hours a day. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours a sleep, although there is “no magic number,” meaning many people may be getting far less sleep than they need. More than just an inconvenience, lack of sleep can increase the likelihood of workers being injured on the job. Tired workers may also be a hazard for the public, especially in jobs like commercial driving. Twenty percent of car crashes involve drowsy drivers. In addition, diseases like obesity, depression, heart disease and diabetes are all linked to sleep deprivation. Night shift workers are also particularly at risk, with 44 percent not sleeping enough, compared to 28.8% of people who work during the day. These types of jobs are common within the transportation, warehouse and healthcare industries. Other sleep-deprived groups include those holding down more than one job or working more than 40 hours a week, widows, divorcees and recently separated partners. The CDC report offers advice to employers on ensuring that their employees are well rested. This includes adjusting night shift schedules and limiting the number of nights in a row worked. Employees are encouraged to go to bed at the same time each night, avoid large meals before bed, skip reading or watching TV in bed, and set up a relaxing environment in the bedroom. Dr. Michael J. Breus, a sleep expert and clinical psychologist, told WebMD that two signs indicate that you may be sleep deprived: falling asleep within 10 minutes of going to bed; and hitting the snooze button more than twice.
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