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Americans need more sleep, less stress, experts say, as Gallup poll reveals troubling findings

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Americans need more sleep, less stress, experts say, as Gallup poll reveals troubling findings

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Many Americans are getting too little sleep and have too much stress.

A new Gallup poll revealed 57% of adults would “feel better if they got more sleep,” while 42% said they get “as much sleep as they need.”

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These findings have nearly reversed in the last decade, Gallup noted in a press release. The last measurement in 2013 found that 56% of Americans got the sleep they needed while 43% did not.

LACK OF SLEEP COULD BE A FACTOR IN A ‘SILENT EPIDEMIC,’ EXPERTS WARN

Overall, however, Americans are getting fewer hours of sleep than they did in past decades.

In 1942, 59% of Americans were getting eight hours or more of sleep per night, while only 3% were getting five hours or less.

Fifty-seven percent of adults said they would “feel better if they got more sleep,” a new Gallup poll revealed. (iStock)

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In 2024, only 25% of Americans get an average of eight hours of sleep, and 20% reported sleeping for five or less.

Young women are the least likely to get enough sleep, according to the study — with 36% of females versus 48% of males reporting getting enough shuteye.

SLEEP DISORDERS AND SUICIDE: A MENTAL HEALTH EXPERT REVEALS THE CONCERNING LINK

Sleep amounts for both men and women showed “significant declines from previous readings in 2013 and 2004,” according to Gallup — and are the lowest measured for each group to date.

The decline was found across all age groups, although young adults between ages 18 and 29 saw the smallest difference.

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Stress-sleep connection

Gallup suggested that an uptick in stress could be driving this downward trend in sleep, as the American Psychological Association reports a “strong connection between stress and sleep quality.”

The poll showed that 63% of Americans who reported wanting more sleep also “frequently experience stress.”

Tired woman at computer

Women are most likely to frequently experience stress, the Gallup poll found. (iStock)

“Over the past 30 years, the number of Americans who are stressed has been on a steady incline after a sharp drop in 2003,” Gallup reported.

“The most recent data show that nearly half of all Americans, 49%, report frequently experiencing stress — up 16 points over the past two decades and the highest in Gallup’s trend to date.”

IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP BY OPTIMIZING 6 BIOMARKERS: ‘INTEGRAL TO HEALTH’

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Young women are also most likely to frequently experience stress, “exceeding men their age by 14 points,” according to Gallup.

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, confirmed this relationship between sleep and stress, calling it the “cycle of worry” during a Thursday appearance on “America’s Newsroom.”

dr. marc siegel on america's newsroom

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, discussed the relationship between sleep and stress during a Thursday appearance on “America’s Newsroom.” He noted that exposure to the blue light of smartphone screens can keep people awake, among other issues. (Fox News)

“They’re connected,” he said. 

“If you get more stressed, you don’t sleep; if you don’t sleep, you get more stressed.”

Siegel explained that “all of this spirals out of control,” since sleeplessness is often remedied with caffeine — yet caffeine “interferes with your sleep cycle.”

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“If you get more stressed, you don’t sleep; if you don’t sleep, you get more stressed.”

The same goes for drinking alcohol before bed to induce sleep, which “wears off and you wake up in the middle of the night,” the doctor warned. 

Exposure to the blue light of smartphone screens can keep people awake, Siegel said.

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“All of this is very bad for health,” he said. “It leads to heart disease, it increases your risk of stroke, it causes you to gain weight.”

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For young women in particular, several factors could be causing them to lose sleep, including the use of social media, which can “feed anxiety,” Siegel said.

Man on phone

A potential fix to ending the sleep-stress cycle is practicing “sleep hygiene,” said one doctor, which includes sleeping in a dark room away from your cellphone. (iStock)

A potential fix for the sleep-stress cycle is practicing “sleep hygiene,” Siegel suggested, which includes sleeping in a dark room away from your cell phone.

“I treat stress and sleeplessness as the same thing,” he said. “That’s why I don’t believe in sleeping pills … You’re just covering up the problem.”

He added, “I want to get at why you’re worried and what I can do about the worry.”

SLEEPING WITH LIGHTS OFF AND CLOSED BLINDS MAY PROTECT YOUR HEALTH: STUDY

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Dr. Wendy Troxel, a Utah-based sleep expert and senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation, told Fox News Digital in an interview that stress levels have remained “very high” since the COVID pandemic.

“[For] populations navigating multiple demands, including young people who are going to school or starting new jobs in this topsy-turvy world, it’s understandable that they are experiencing increases in stress, and that’s manifesting increases in sleep disturbances,” she said.

dr. wendy troxel headshot

Dr. Wendy Troxel, senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation, is also the author of “Sharing the Covers: Every Couple’s Guide to Better Sleep” and scientific advisor for sleepfoundation.org. “As a culture,” she said, “we’ve become more aware of the importance of sleep over the past 10 years, which is a great thing.” (Diane Baldwin)

In some instances, Troxel pointed out, lack of sleep has been worn as a “badge of honor” to prove that people are busy or productive.

“But I think that that cultural misconception is starting to wane,” she said.

“The reality is, as a culture, we’ve just become more aware of the importance of sleep over the past 10 years, which is a great thing.”

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To break the “vicious cycle” of stress impacting sleep and vice versa, Troxel offered several tips, including maintaining a consistent sleep and wake schedule to ensure that stress doesn’t “invade your life.”

Incorporating a wind-down routine prior to bed can also bring down stress levels, the sleep expert noted.

These routines can involve relaxing activities such as deep breathing exercises, cuddling with a partner, journaling, doing gentle yoga or listening to music.

man meditates at night on his bed

Wind-down activities before bed can include deep breathing exercises, cuddling with a partner, journaling, doing gentle yoga or listening to music. (iStock)

“It’s just about finding something that you can ritualize and do on a nightly basis to set the stage … to put aside all the demands and stress of the day and prepare for winding down and [going] to sleep,” Troxel said.

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For people who wake up in the middle of the night due to stress, she advised getting out of bed, performing a wind-down activity and then returning to bed.

This technique, called stimulus control, prevents the brain from forming the habit of waking up at a certain time to ruminate on stressful thoughts.

“We all have occasional stress-related sleep disturbances, but if that starts happening night after night, it becomes habit-forming,” she said. 

“And that’s where we see more chronic problems like insomnia. So, if you see that happening, treat it as a habit that your brain is learning — and break it.”

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Despite growing concerns over bird flu, many US dairy workers have not received protective equipment

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Despite growing concerns over bird flu, many US dairy workers have not received protective equipment
  • Despite growing concern about bird flu, many U.S. dairy farms have not increased health protections for employees.
  • On May 22, 2024, the U.S. government said a second dairy worker has contracted bird flu since cattle first tested positive in late March.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it believes unpasteurized milk is the primary vector for transmitting the virus in cows, though officials do not know exactly how it spreads.

Many U.S. dairy farms have not yet increased health protections against bird flu for employees during an outbreak in cows, according to workers, activists and farmers, worrying health experts about the risk for more human infections of a virus with pandemic potential.

Epidemiologists are concerned the virus could potentially spread and cause serious illnesses as farmers downplay the risk to workers while employees are not widely aware of cases in U.S. cattle.

The U.S. government said on Wednesday that a second dairy worker contracted bird flu since cattle first tested positive in late March and that investigators are looking into whether the person was wearing or offered protective equipment.

AUSTRALIA REPORTS NEW BIRD FLU CASE AT POULTRY FARM AS GLOBAL CONCERNS RISE

Nearly 24,000 farms sell milk around the country, and they offer varying protections to staff. Lobby group the National Milk Producers Federation said it encouraged farms to use protective equipment in line with federal recommendations and heard of increased worker protections.

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Three dairy workers, seven activists and two lawyers who assist farm employees told Reuters that dairy owners have not offered equipment like face shields and goggles to staff who spend 10- to 12-hour days side-by-side with cows. Three large dairy companies with tens of thousands of cows declined to comment on their procedures.

The workers – all based in New York, a major dairy producer – said they heard of the new illness affecting cattle through the media or community organizers, not their employers. One, 39-year-old Luis Jimenez from Mexico, said last week it was business as usual.

A worker using an automated machine helps milk Holstein cows at Airoso Circle A Dairy in Pixley, California, on October 2, 2019. Workers who attach and detach milking equipment to cows get their faces close to unpasteurized milk. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it believes unpasteurized milk is the primary vector for transmitting the virus in cows. (Reuters/Mike Blake/File Photo)

“They’re not doing anything,” he said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in April and May advised workers to use personal protective equipment (PPE) if they may be exposed to sick livestock, after a Texas dairy worker tested positive for bird flu. On May 6, the agency asked states to make equipment available to workers.

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CDC wants “to make sure that farm workers across the country, whether they are at a farm with an affected herd or not, have access to PPE,” said Nirav Shah, principal deputy director, last week.

New York state said it is assessing CDC’s recommendation and has not yet distributed equipment. Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, where cattle were infected, said they distributed equipment to eight dairies combined. Kansas, Idaho and Wisconsin said they have equipment, but no farmers asked for it.

Michigan, where the second dairy worker tested positive, said many farms have protective gear but the state is coordinating a way to make it available for those that need more.

Dairies became more aware of bird flu’s risks in late April after the U.S. government began requiring that cows test negative before crossing state lines, said Emily Yeiser Stepp, who oversees a National Milk Producers Federation program that covers workforce development.

Still, “reaching out into some of our rural networks takes a little longer,” she said when told of workers who said they were not informed of recommendations for protective equipment.

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CLOSE CONTACT WITH COWS

The U.S. confirmed bird flu in dairy cattle in nine states. Scientists have said they believe the outbreak is more widespread based on findings of H5N1 particles in about 20% of retail milk samples.

Bird flu has caused serious or fatal infections globally among people in close contact with wild birds or poultry. In cows, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it believes unpasteurized milk is the primary vector for transmitting the virus, though officials do not know exactly how it spreads.

Health experts advise dairy workers to wear gloves and disposable coveralls that can block milk splashes on their bodies or clothing.

Jimenez said his coworkers are under pressure to work so quickly that they sometimes do not have time to wash their hands before meals and often drive home in their work clothes.

Workers attach and detach milking equipment on cows, putting their faces close to unpasteurized milk. Most are immigrants and many do not have health insurance.

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“When you’re milking, splashes can’t be avoided. When it splashes in our eyes, we wash it out with water,” said another New York worker, who requested anonymity because he is undocumented.

Lucas Sjostrom, a farmer and executive director of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, uses robotic machines to attach milking equipment to cows, but said he is being extra conscious that human workers wear gloves while transporting unpasteurized milk. Minnesota has not reported bird flu in cows.

In Indiana, another state without confirmed cases, farmer Steve Obert said he has not increased precautions for workers, though that could change if his herd tests positive. Extra protective equipment is not comfortable to wear, he added.

“We’re rather isolated and I don’t think the risk is really great,” said Obert, executive director of the industry group Indiana Dairy Producers.

BLOOD-RED EYES

The infected Texas worker suffered conjunctivitis and broken blood vessels that turned his eyes scarlet red, according to a photo published in the New England Journal of Medicine. He reported wearing gloves when working with cows but not respiratory or eye protection, the journal said.

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Scientists are watching for changes in the virus that could make it spread more easily among humans. Epidemiologists said it could cause more serious illnesses if it mutates or infects someone with a compromised immune system.

Some dairies with infected cows have resisted allowing federal officials on their farms because of financial concerns, said Gregory Gray, a University of Texas Medical Branch professor studying cattle diseases.

The CDC said it would like to test more farm workers, but it is not required.

New Mexico had anecdotal reports of workers with symptoms similar to conjunctivitis, but most were not tested, according to internal state documents that were dated April 26 and obtained by Reuters under a public records request. The workers were not tested because they did not seek healthcare, the New Mexico Department of Health said.

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Policy changes are needed to encourage workers to seek treatment, such as emergency income assurance for those who test positive, said Brian Castrucci, an epidemiologist and CEO at health policy group the de Beaumont Foundation.

“I don’t want to wait until we have a dead dairy farm worker until we ratchet up what we’re doing,” he said.

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Half of Americans not equipped to provide life-saving treatment in a crisis, poll finds

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Half of Americans not equipped to provide life-saving treatment in a crisis, poll finds

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Only half the people in the U.S. feel they could be helpful in an emergency situation, a new poll found.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center surveyed a national sample of 1,005 Americans, finding that only 51% of them knew how to perform hands-only CPR if needed.

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In cases of serious bleeding, only 49% said they could assist, and 56% said they would be equipped to help someone who was choking.

The data was collected via phone and email from April 5 to April 7 of this year.

KIDS AS YOUNG AS 4 YEARS OLD CAN BEGIN TO LEARN MEDICAL EMERGENCY TRAINING: NEW REPORT

“The key takeaways from our survey are that patient outcomes would improve if the general public learned some basic life-saving measures in the areas of hands-only CPR, choking rescue and bleeding control,” Nicholas Kman, M.D., emergency medicine physician at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and clinical professor of emergency medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, told Fox News Digital.  

“We can save lives while we wait for first responders to arrive.”

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Only half the people in the U.S. feel they could be helpful in an emergency situation, a new poll has found. (iStock)

“For every minute that passes, the chance of survival drops, and if they do survive, there’s less chance of a good neurologic outcome.”

Data shows that 70% to 80% of cardiac arrests occur in the home and 20% happen in a public place, according to Kman.

HELP DESPERATELY NEEDED: AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION LAUNCHES ‘NATION OF LIFESAVERS’ PROGRAM

“Outcomes are poor when the arrest is unwitnessed at home,” he told Fox News Digital.  

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“Just think, the person with the medical emergency could be your loved one in your house. You may have to provide life-saving treatment until first responders arrive.”

Heimlich maneuver

Data shows that 70% to 80% of cardiac arrests occur in the home and 20% happen in a public place, a researcher said. (iStock)

Based on the survey findings, Kman advised the public to get trained in life-saving measures — particularly hands-only CPR, choking and serious bleeding.

“Look for training that may be offered through community days at hospitals, schools, libraries, community organizations, religious institutions, volunteer groups, festivals and sporting events,” he suggested.

“We’re responsible for each other.”

Organizations and websites such as the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association and Stop The Bleed may offer these courses for free or low cost, Kman noted.  

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After learning the skills, it’s important to practice them, the doctor said.

“We would love the public to learn how to do hands-only CPR and practice the skill of doing CPR every six weeks,” Kman said.

Performing CPR

Based on the survey findings, researchers advised people to get trained in life-saving measures, particularly hands-only CPR, choking first-aid and serious bleeding assistance. (iStock)

“As with any skill, practice builds confidence. If we don’t practice it, we lose that skill.”

The OSU survey did have some limitations, Kman acknowledged.

“The survey was a convenience sample of a cross-section of Americans,” he told Fox News Digital. 

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HEART ATTACKS MORE LIKELY DURING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS AND OTHER STRESSFUL TIMES, STUDY SHOWS

“Most demographics were equally represented, but different regions do better at this than others, and their cardiac arrest results and survival reflect that,” he continued. 

“States and countries that prioritize training the public have higher survival rates.”

Emergency room

“When you’re trained in these lifesaving skills, you’ll know how to recognize the signs that someone needs help and buy time until the [first] responders can get there,” a doctor said. (iStock)

Dr. Kenneth Perry, an emergency department physician in South Carolina, was not involved in the survey but said he was surprised that more people don’t feel unprepared.

“Even for medical professionals, having a medical emergency occur without preparation can be a very stressful event,” he told Fox News Digital. 

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“It is very important for people to have basic lifesaving skills.”

“It is very important for people to have basic lifesaving skills.”

The easiest and most helpful skill that people should learn is how to operate an automated external defibrillator (AED). These are located in many public places, such as gyms, malls and even some public walkways, according to Perry.  

“These devices are the best way to save a person who is suffering from cardiac arrest,” he said.

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“If the person has an abnormal heart rhythm that can be brought back to normal with electricity, this device will save that patient.”

This is a very time-sensitive process, however — it must happen as early as possible, the doctor advised. 

“Early defibrillation is directly correlated with the best outcomes for patients who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.”

Ultimately, Kwan, said, “we’re responsible for each other.”

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“When you’re trained in these lifesaving skills, you’ll know how to recognize the signs that someone needs help and buy time until the responders can get there.”

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