More than one-third of U.S. adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night and that could cause them problems while they're awake, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC says less sleep effects concentration and memory during the day. Also with less sleep, many people may have a more difficult time while driving. An estimated 50 million to 70 million U.S. adults experience chronic sleep disorders, the agency said.
People between the ages of 25 and 34 are more at risk to nod off while driving, and men are more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel than women, according to the report.
"Most of us believe that there are a lot more fall asleep crashes than reported," said Dr. Allan Pack, director of the Center for Sleep at University of Pennsylvania. "This is probably just the tip of the iceberg. It's probably not reported accurately because a number of states don't even having a 'falling asleep while driving' tick in the box when reporting a car crash."
Lack of sleep has also been linked to industrial disasters, medical mistakes and other workplace incidents.
"I'm not sure that people understand the biology of all this," said Pack. "I think people believe that if they cut back on their sleep there is no real consequence. Everyone knows the dangers of alcohol, but I don't think people understand the dangers of drowsy driving."
The CDC recommends adults should get from seven to nine hours of sleep every night.