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Work is Americans' Number One Enemy of Sleep

Travel and socializing are other popular reasons for staying awake more

THURSDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The waking activities that are most likely to impinge on people's sleep time are work, travel (including commuting) and socializing/relaxing/leisure, in that order, according to the results of a study published in the Sept. 1 issue of Sleep.

Mathias Basner, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues analyzed telephone survey data from 47,731 respondents over the age of 14. The interviews were compiled from three years (2003-2005) of the American Time Use Survey.

When work and work-related activities increased, sleep time decreased. Sleep times and age were also related, with the 45- to 54-year-old age group sleeping less on average than those in both lower and higher age groups. Respondents who reported sleeping more than 8.5 hours a day tended to work less and spend less time on education and household activities while watching television more.

"In future sleep studies, work time should be considered as a potential confounder," the authors conclude, "as it was shown to be associated with sleep time and was shown to be associated with mental and physical health as well."

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