||Background Increasing evidence suggests an association between short sleep with adverse health outcomes: obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. But there are few or no data on “who these short sleepers are” in the general population. Objectives To describe short sleepers and the associated sleep disorders in young adults. Methods Cross-sectional telephone survey in a representative sample of 1004 French young adults (25–45 years old). Total sleep time (TST), insomnia, snoring, sleepiness and daytime consequences were assessed using subjective validated tools. Short sleepers were defined as sleeping <6 h a weekday (sleep + nap + pauses). Sleep debt was defined as those who “sleep 90 min less than the sleep they need to be in good shape.” Results Prevalence of short sleep was 18%, insomnia 12%, and sleep debt 20% in the total group. Among short sleepers, 16% had insomnia, 45% sleep debt, and 39% neither. Short sleepers were significantly mostly males, blue collar workers and more overweight and obese compared to nonshort sleepers. Working >10 h per day, smoking and drinking coffee after 5 p.m. were also significantly associated with short sleep. Short sleepers had higher Epworth sleepiness scale ESS scores (7.8 vs 6.7; p = 0.0058) and more sleepiness while driving (11.5% vs 2.9%; p < 0.0001). Conclusion Short sleep is highly prevalent in young adults but is not an homogeneous group, including both insomniacs and subjects with or without sleep debt. Short sleep has to be defined more precisely in order to better understand its impact on public health.