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Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

How much sleep did you get last night? I think I was asleep by midnight, and my alarm went off at 6:30am, so I count six-and-a-half hours. Today I feel pretty good, though I may have yawned a couple of times at our morning editorial meeting... but we all know we're supposed to get about eight hours of sleep. We know it, but do we care? According to the National Sleep Foundation, nope — whereas almost 40% of adults were getting their nightly eight in 2001, these days only about a quarter do. I know I should get more, but then I think, "Well, if I get a medium coffee in the morning instead of a small, I can stay up for another hour or so..." What do you tell yourself to rationalize the sleep you're not getting?

UPDATE: The email address Dr. Dement gave out to take part in the study on obstructive sleep apnea (it's only near Boston, Tucson, Walla Walla, Stanford, or St. Louis) is: sleep.fmri@yahoo.com

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I loose most of my sleep due to the thought and stress of tomorrow. The war, my future are big topics.

Sent by wade Ritchey | 2:48 PM | 5-31-2007

I am using a CPAP machine because I snore too much. I was not a good candidate for surgery. Now my wife can sleep through the night.

Sent by Thomas | 2:49 PM | 5-31-2007

People will get more sleep when Employers start wanting quality over quantity. Also our commutes are getting longer and that does not help.

Sent by Jonpaul | 2:51 PM | 5-31-2007

I am the mother of 4 young children. My excuse for not getting a full 8 hours of sleep is that in order for me to have the time to exercise I have to do it before the kids are all up in the morning. 5:30 AM comes early when you're caring for a home and family! But I feel exercise is equally as important for my good health as sleep is.

Sent by Sarah Giles | 2:52 PM | 5-31-2007

I have had difficulty staying awake during the day regardless of how much sleep I have had at night but it is worse if I have had less than 8 hours. I can be wide awake and within one second can be sound asleep while driving. I've had two auto accidents due to this recently. I've had sleep studies and nap studies but the results are always unremarkabale due to the unrealistic conditions of the sleep lab and how it affects me. My doctor has prescribed provigil 200 2x per day for me which helps somewhat but not completely. I tend to normally get 5-6 hours of sleep due to schedule demands. What else can I do?

Sent by John Howell | 2:57 PM | 5-31-2007

I sleep about 10 hrs per night. Is that too much? It seems like too much to me, I wish I didn't need so much.

Sent by Lynn | 2:58 PM | 5-31-2007

On most nights, I get between four and six hours of sleep. Occasionally, I'll entertain the idea of sleeping more, but the thought of sleeping eight hours a day -- effectively one third of the day and, ultimately, one third of my life -- keeps me on my deprived schedule. This math-based view defines my outlook on sleep. Though I can't claim to be noticeably more productive on this schedule (I've been operating like this for about seven years), I worry about how much less I'd accomplish were I to sleep more. A sixth to a quarter of my life spent sleeping is indeed more palatable, but I'd honestly do without it if I could.

Sent by John Moore | 2:59 PM | 5-31-2007

I have found, ever since I was a young girl, that listening to stories helps me fall asleep very quickly. When I was little I listened to Disney on tape, and now that I am an adult I load up my iPod with podcasts to listen to at night!

My partner and I purchased a TempurPedic bed last year and his ability to get a good night's sleep increased dramatically!

Sent by Renee Johnson | 2:59 PM | 5-31-2007

While every one has their own reasons for not getting enought sleep, there are many of us that do get 8 hours by compromising on other things in life (eg: surfing the net till wee hours!). The tricky part is when we can't get enough sleep because of society's expectations! For example, high school kids in MI take bus at 6 am and there is no way to get 8 hours sleep given the amount of homework they have. So I hope these endless discussions lead to some real action on the part of schools for example.

Sent by RK | 3:06 PM | 5-31-2007

Re the discussion on sleep: I have obstructive sleep apnea and have been unable to tolerate CPAP. I haven't tried the dental appliance but it sounds awful! I wanted Dr. Dement to talk more about the surgical option (I went to an ENT who pooh-poohed the idea) but I didn't get through. Can anyone provide any information about surgical procedures to correct apnea? I'd be very grateful . . .

Sent by Jean McNeil | 3:15 PM | 5-31-2007

Did anyone catch the www sleep... which was mentioned? Where are the links located??

Sent by km | 3:29 PM | 5-31-2007

I started playing field hockey 3 days a week for about 3 hours each practice and if I don't get at least nine to ten hours of sleep a night I feel groggy. I think this is excessive but perhaps that is not true.

Sent by Sarah | 4:53 PM | 5-31-2007

https://apples.stanford.edu/index.html

I found that after searching a bit... I'm not sure if I suffer from sleep apnea or not, but both my father and my father's mother have/had it (my grandma may have died from it), so I'm going to check it out. If nothing else, I may be able to get my dad to enroll.

Sent by Brandi | 7:38 PM | 5-31-2007

I am a study skills specialist. Students are referred to me by professors who say the student seemingly knows the material but still failed the test. In the majority of these cases there are two dominant factors: sleep and nutrition. After interviewing the student, I find s/he has been getting 4 hours of sleep per night for several days and then skipped breakfast in favor of that last half hour of sleep. The combination of sleep deprivation and hunger often leads to the inability to perform even minimally on scholastic assessments. In these cases, the cure for test failure may be goal setting and time management.

Sent by Gaiil | 8:05 AM | 6-1-2007