ACDS Index: June 2023

A woman lying on her side in bed staring at her small silver alarm clock.

SLEEPLESS IN AMERICA

Whatever happened to EZ zzzzzzzzzz?

ARE YOU GETTING enough sleep? What a silly question—of course you’re not. That’s why sleep, or, more precisely, the lack of it, has become a major health concern in this country. Last year, the American Heart Association added “healthy sleep” to its Life’s Essential 8 list, which also includes healthy diet, participation in physical activity, avoidance of nicotine, healthy weight, and healthy levels of blood lipids, blood glucose, and blood pressure. Researchers are losing sleep studying how sleep-challenged you are, the many causes ranging from global warming to existential worry. So in this month of the Summer Solstice—a sleep suppressor itself, since more light means less melatonin—we decided to see what the data tells us about why we’re so sleepless in America.

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  • Adults between ages 18 and 64 need seven or more hours of sleep per night, while adults 65 or older need seven to eight hours. (Source: National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information)
  • Based on a study of 47,000 adults in 68 countries, researchers estimate that people around the world are now losing an average of 44 hours of sleep per year because of rising temperatures due to climate change. (Source: Washington Post, on a study from MIT)
  • On nights above 86 degrees, people sleep about 14 minutes less on average. (Source: Washington Post on MIT study)
  • The ideal bedroom temperature for people to fall asleep is between 63 to 69 degrees. (Source: Washington Post, MIT study)
  • 54.4% of survey respondents said stress and anxiety were the top reasons they have trouble falling asleep, and Sunday was the night on which they had the most trouble falling asleep. (Source: SleepFoundation.org survey)
  • The U.S. states with the highest percentages of insufficient sleep per night are Hawaii (43.2 percent), West Virginia (42.5 percent), and Kentucky (42.1 percent). (Source: Sleep Foundation)
  • The U.S. states with the lowest percentages of insufficient sleep per night are Minnesota (29.1 percent), Colorado (30 percent), and Vermont (30 percent). (Source: Sleep Foundation)
  • Wildfires can cause as much as 134.9 hours of lost sleep per year for a U.S. adult. 76.6% of adults who have lost sleep due to wildfires cite anxiety as the reason. (Source: SleepFoundation.org survey)
  • 69% of men ages 40 and older and 76% of women in that age group get up to go to the bathroom at least once per night. (Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information)
  • 94.8% of adults lose at least an hour of sleep to pain in a given week. (Source: SleepFoundation.org survey)
  • 63% of U.S. adults with heartburn say it has affected their ability to sleep well. (Source: National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information)
  • 30% of couples who started sleeping in separate beds cited their sleep habits as the reason. (Source: SleepFoundation.org survey)
  • For teens, average total sleep per night drops by 40 to 50 minutes from ages 13 to 19. (Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information)
  • 57.8% of middle schoolers and 72.7% of high school students get less than the recommended amount of sleep for their age. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Children who lose 39 minutes of sleep or more have a harder time coping at school. (Source: JAMA Network)
  • 77.9% of adults say getting enough sleep is more important than being successful at a video game, compared to 60.1% of adolescents. (Source: SleepFoundation.org survey)
  • Adolescents push their bedtime back by 16 minutes for every 30 minutes they spend playing video games. (Source: National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information)
  • Two or more children share a bedroom in 70.4% of U.S. households. (Source: SleepFoundation.org survey of parents)
  • 83% of adults with depression may have at least one symptom of insomnia. (Source: National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information)
  • Watching TV is the top bedtime ritual among U.S. adults, with 52.7% of survey respondents saying they do it before bed. 50.4% of people who watch TV before bed get less than seven hours of sleep. (Source: SleepFoundation.org survey)
  • Adults in the U.S. spend an average of 3 and ½ hours on social media before bed every night. (Source: OneCare Media survey for SleepFoundation.org)
  • YouTube is the most popular social media platform used before bed, with 73.8% of survey respondents using it for at least one minute for an average of 48 minutes a night. (Source: SleepFoundation.org survey)
  • 4.8 out of 10 U.S. workers say they are regularly tired during the day, and 6.9 of 10 say they are tired when their work day is done. (Source: SleepFoundation.org survey)
  • Insufficient sleep has an estimated economic impact of more than $411 billion each year in the United States alone. (Source: National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information)
  • Drowsy driving is responsible for more than 6,000 fatal car crashes every year in the United States. (Source: National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information)