THE AVERAGE person spends less than seven hours a day sleeping and almost four million French people suffer from severe insomnia, a new report has found.
The Institut National du Sommeil (national sleep institute) believes that half of people in France have difficulty getting enough sleep each night.
In the past 50 years, the average time spent sleeping has fallen by an hour and a half each night to 6 hours 58 minutes on weeknights and 7 hours 50 minutes at the weekend.
The findings coincide with the 10th annual Journée du Sommeil (national sleep day) which takes place this Friday.
The report's author, professor Damien Léger told Le Monde: "This chronic lack of sleep is having consequences on people's health: tiredness, weight gain, depression, heightened risk of accidents."
The institute says people should avoid eating large meals late in the evening or drinking too much tea, coffee, fizzy drinks or alcohol.
Electronic equipment such as TVs, mobile phones and computers should be taken out of the bedroom and sport should be avoided after 18.00.
The group also recommends taking siestas in the middle of the day at work, of no more than 20 minutes.
Valua Vitaly - Fotolia.com