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Almost a third of Americans are unable to get a good night sleep amid the ongoing economic downturn, which can have an adverse impact on health and safety, say researchers.

The study conducted by National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has found striking disparities in the sleep patterns, health habits and quality of life.

The number of people reporting sleep problems has increased 13pct since 2001.

In the past eight years, the number of people who sleep less than six hours a night jumped from 13pct to 20pct, and those who reported sleeping eight hours or more dropped from 38pct to 28pct.

"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 National Sleep Foundation.

"Sleep is essential for productivity and alertness and is a vital sign for one's overall health," he added.

Dr. Meir Kryger, Director of Research and Education at Gaylord Sleep Services, said: "With the economy worsening, we are seeing patients in our clinic who have told as that they would not be returning for treatment because they or other family members have lost their jobs, and they are concerned about costs."

Kryger added: "Some patients have elected not to be treated for sleep apnea because they could not afford the co-pay for the equipment. These patients may wind up far sicker. Sleep disorders are often associated with other chronic diseases, like diabetes and hypertension, and they can add complexity and even accelerate each other if untreated."

With credit cruch engulfing global economy, National Sleep Foundation encourages people to maintain good sleep, exercise and diet routines to help combat anxiety and improve health and productivity.

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