Insomnia is making all aspects of Americans’ lives a nightmare, according to a recent National Sleep Foundation survey titled “2010 Sleep in America” reported on by HealthDay News.

The yearly nationwide survey polled 1,007 Americans. Results showed that adults of all races get almost two hours less sleep than they did in 1970.

“Everybody is sleeping less,” said Jose Loredo, MD, MS, a professor of medicine and director of the Sleep Medicine Center at the University of California in San Diego. “We do live in a nation of sleepy people.”

And although it may seem that Americans are sleepwalking through life, many are aware that a lack of sleep puts them at risk of dire health problems.

“Sleep duration is a very important variable in health, especially cardiovascular health,” Loredo said. “There is a strong association of sleeping less and hypertension, sleeping less and heart attacks, sleeping less and obesity.”

Besides the health issues involved, not getting enough sleep affects people’s lives in other ways. A full 24 percent of people said they’ve been too tired to go to work or enjoy social activities.

In addition, as many as 26 percent of both married and unmarried couples who lived together said they were also too pooped to have sex.

According to the HealthDay article, the national sleep poll also showed differences in sleep habits among blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians. Some interesting findings include:

     • More blacks and Hispanics than whites and Asians said they lost sleep over money problems.
     • More blacks and Asians than whites and Hispanics said they did job-related work before going to bed.
     •More blacks and Hispanics than whites and Asians said they had sex each night.
     • More blacks and whites than Hispanic and Asians said they didn’t get good sleep each night.
     • More blacks than whites, Hispanics and Asians said they used prescription sleeping pills.

Although the reasons for group differences aren’t clear, Loredo said they could be culturally or environmentally based.

Another sleep disorder expert, Bruce A. Nolan, MD, an associate professor of clinical neurology, psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Miami, blames people’s doze-off difficulties on the country’s economic and social crises.

“It really says that bad days lead to bad nights,” Nolan suggested.

But Nolan also encouraged people to find ways to build better sleeping habits. Doing so, he says, will enhance your quality of life and your ability to function each day.

Some ways are listed below, but you can find more at

     • Sleep and wake-up at the same time each day.
     • Limit your bedroom activities only to sleeping.
     • Keep your worries out of the bedroom.
     • Avoid using stimulants of any kind before going to bed.
     • Do something relaxing before going to bed.

Click here to read about sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder.