National Sleep Awareness Week: 10 Sleep Statistics You Should Know
Ever wonder how your sleep stacks up against the sleep quality and habits of others? Do U.S. adults get more or less sleep than people in other countries?
This week is National Sleep Awareness Week, and we're answering the most common questions about sleep health. We're celebrating by calling attention to current sleep statistics and the routines you can form for better, restorative sleep.
The first step to improving your sleep is recognizing patterns and identifying opportunities for healthier practices. As you learn more about sleep statistics, think about your own sleep quality and how your sleep compares to national averages and recommendations from trusted health experts.
1. On average, U.S. Adults Rate Their Sleep Quality a 6.1 Out of 10
The results from Nolah’s Sleep Survey are in! Our sleep study included 400 participants from across the country, capturing a census-representative sample of U.S. adults.
The survey asked participants to self-assess their overall sleep quality, rating it on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. On average, participants rated their sleep a 6.1 out of 10.
We also looked at how specific populations rated their sleep quality compared to others:
- Adults who identify as female rated their sleep an average of 6.2/10, as did those who identify as male. Participants who identify as non-binary gave an average rating of 4.7
- Millennials (people currently ages 25-40) rated their sleep quality lower than the other surveyed generations (Gen Z, Gen X, and baby boomers)
- People who have or experience anxiety rated their sleep 1.3 points lower than those who do not
2. 40 Percent of U.S. Adults Sleep Less Than Seven Hours a Night
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least seven hours of sleep a night for people 18 years old and up. However, Nolah’s sleep survey shows that only 60 percent of U.S. adults typically get seven hours of rest.
Forty-three percent of Gen X (currently ages 41 to 56) get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night, a higher percentage than any other adult generation. Fifty-five percent of participants who identify as non-binary reported getting insufficient sleep, compared to 42 percent of those who identify as male and 36 percent of those who identify as female.
3. 55 Percent of Adults Typically Take More Than 20 Minutes to Fall Asleep
Ideally, you’d fall asleep within seconds of closing your eyes. However, that’s not the case for most people.
Both the Mayo Clinic and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend getting out of bed and doing something else until you’re tired if you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, so we use this timeframe as a benchmark for sleep latency. In the U.S., 55 percent of adults typically need more time than that to drift off to sleep.
Our sleep survey also asked participants to identify the factors that commonly keep them up at night. “stress, anxiety, overthinking, or other uncontrollable thoughts“ ranked as the number-one cause for prolonged sleep latency.
4. Gen Z Takes Longer to Fall Asleep Than Older Generations
Analyzing the results from our 2022 sleep survey, we found that Gen Z adults (currently ages 18 to 24) have more difficulty falling asleep than older generations.
Sixty-three percent of zoomers typically take more than 20 minutes to fall asleep compared to 57 percent of millennials, 45 percent of Gen X, and 36 percent of baby boomers. It’s likely that Gen Z’s trouble falling asleep corresponds with the high stress and anxiety rates among young adults.
5. In a Global Study, 70 Percent of Participants Said They’ve Experienced a New Sleep Challenge Since The Beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Every year, Philips conducts a global study for World Sleep Day. For their 2021 survey, they gathered data from participants across 13 nations: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, and South Korea.
The survey highlights a significant side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic: widespread sleep health disruptions. Of the 13,000 adults surveyed, 70 percent reported experiencing one or more new sleep-related challenges since the pandemic began. Common challenges include waking up more during the night and not sleeping well.
6. 40 Percent of U.S. Adults Are Satisfied With Their Sleep, 15 Percent Lower Than The Global Satisfaction Rate
The same survey by Philips shows how sleep quality varies between countries. The chart below summarizes the data collected from 13,000 participants across 13 nations.
Percent of Adults Who Reported “Somewhat” or “Complete” Satisfaction With Their Sleep
7. 44 Percent of U.S. Adults Rate Their Stress Levels as High
Research shows a direct correlation between high stress and sleep disruptions. Unfortunately, this relationship can cause a vicious cycle; stress makes it harder to sleep, and lack of sleep makes you more stressed.
When asked to assess their stress level over the past three months, 44 percent of Nolah sleep survey participants reported high stress, rating their overall stress level 7 to 10 out of 10.
About 62 percent of these individuals need more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, compared to 40 percent of participants with low stress (1 to 3 out of 10). When it comes to sleep duration, 44 percent of adults with high stress get less than seven hours of sleep a night, compared to 28 percent of adults with low stress.
8. An Estimated 50 to 70 Million Adults in the U.S. Have a Sleep Disorder
According to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million adults in the U.S. have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, and shift work disorder.
Back in 2011, psychiatric epidemiologist and professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, Ronald Kessler, found that insomnia alone costs the U.S. workforce about $63.2 billion worth in productivity each year. With a dramatic increase in insomnia rates over the past decade—particularly during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic—this figure has certainly surged since Kessler’s study.
9. 85 Percent of Adults Sleep with Their Phone In or Next to Their Bed Every Night
The increasing accessibility of smartphones and other portable devices has certainly contributed to insomnia’s rising rates. Blue light emittance interferes with your circadian rhythms, making it difficult for your body to “shut down” when you’re ready to go to sleep.
Nolah’s sleep survey found that the vast majority of U.S. adults bring their phones to bed with them. Eighty-five percent of participants reported sleeping with their phone in or next to their bed every night. Compared to 29 percent of adults who never sleep near their phone, 57 percent of adults who always sleep near their phone typically require more than 20 minutes to fall asleep.
10. About One in Every Four Married Couples Sleep in Separate Beds
If you’ve ever been kept awake late at night due to your partner’s snoring, you’ve likely entertained the idea of permanently sleeping in separate beds. But is that “normal” or healthy for couples? According to USA Today, about 25 percent of married couples have this arrangement.
Jill Lankler, clinical psychologist and life coach, told the newspaper that it isn’t for everyone, but there’s “a very healthy way to do it that enhances communication and enhances freedom in a relationship.”
How to Improve Your Sleep This Spring
These statistics may seem discouraging at first glance, but keep it mind—sleep patterns aren’t permanent. It may take hard work and patience, but lifestyle changes can improve your sleep and radically transform your physical health and mental wellness.
Later this week, we’ll walk you through scientifically-proven tips and tricks for getting better rest. Nolah is also celebrating Sleep Awareness Week with deals on mattresses, bamboo sheets, pillows, and more.
Disclaimer: Nolah does not provide medical advice. All resources on the Nolah blog, including this article, are informational only and do not replace professional medical counsel. Talk to your doctor about any health, mental health, or sleep-related issues.
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