Sleep Deficit on the Rise

Be careful on the road: More than one-third of Americans reported dozing off behind the wheel, according to a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

Americans are literally losing sleep over their finances, and the lack of sleep can be a public hazard, NSF said. The survey found that more than one-half of adults (54%) have driven when drowsy at least once in the past year, and 28% have actually fallen asleep while driving a vehicle, according to a release of the results.

As the federal deficit grows, so does America’s sleep deficit. One-third of Americans are losing sleep over the state of the U.S. economy and other personal financial concerns, the survey found.

The number of Americans who sleep less than 6 hours a night jumped from 13% to 20% since 2001. The number of Americans who get 8 hours of sleep dropped from 38% to 28%. Furthermore, the number of people reporting sleep problems has increased 13% since 2001, according to the NSF.

Could financial advisers be in that group of people losing sleep? A recent study of financial planners found that they are feeling more stressed since the markets crashed in the fall (see “Advisers Feel Market Stress“). The survey also found that about a quarter of advisers said work affects their sleep. The majority of surveyed advisers 60%) reporting getting 6 to 7 hours of sleep, and only one-fifth get 8 hours—which is less than Americans overall in the NSF survey (see “Advisers Eat Their Veggies“).

Many advisers might find sleep makes one work more efficiently during this time of increased client phone calls (see “Tips for Managing through the Crisis“). NSF said people in good health are twice as likely than those in poor health to work efficiently, exercise, or eat healthy because they are getting enough sleep.

“It’s easy to understand why so many people are concerned over the economy and jobs, but sacrificing sleep is the wrong solution,” said David Cloud, CEO of the NSF, in the release. “Sleep is essential for productivity and alertness and is a vital sign for one’s overall health.”

Maybe America could use a sleep stimulus.