Sleep deprivation is wreaking havoc with people's lives and raising safety risks at work, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s eighth annual survey, “Sleep in America.”

Researchers claim the frequent absence of a good night’s sleep is undermining health, endangering lives on the road, jeopardizing marriages, hurting job performances and spoiling sex lives across the country.

“Americans’ poor sleep is creating a public health and safety crisis in need of immediate attention,” said Richard Gelula, the group’s chief executive officer.

It's something you can bring to the attention of your workforce in your next safety meeting or communiqué.

The poll showed that “sleep is the great American divide,” Gelula said. “Half of the country sleeps pretty well. The other half has problems.”

On average, respondents said they needed a minimum of 6-1⁄2 hours of sleep per night to function at their best the next day.

Half said they are often tired and fatigued during the day, and 17 percent said they feel this way nearly every day.

The poll, conducted by WB&A Market Research, interviewed a random sample of 1,506 adults. The margin of error is 2.5 percentage points.

The poll found that sleepiness causes problems in nearly every facet of life:

  • About 30 percent of working Americans said they have missed work or other activities or made errors at work because of sleep problems within the past three months.

  • Six in 10 adults said they have driven while drowsy in the past year, and four percent had an accident or near accident because they dozed off behind the wheel.