Sleep Statistics

41 Sleep Statistics: Updated for 2021

The facts don’t lie, we’re not getting enough sleep.

Whether you suffer from a chronic case of insomnia, or you’re just feeling a little sleep deprived, you’re not alone!

Take a look below at 41 shocking sleep statistics:

Sleep Stats and Facts: A Quick Summary

  • 35% of Americans don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night.
  • Americans currently get on average 6.8 hours of sleep each night.
  • In 1910 the average person slept 9 hours a night.
  • Roughly 20% of Americans have a sleep disorder.
  • Since 1985 the percentage of adults getting less than six hours sleep each night has increased by 31%.
  • 97% of teenagers get less than the recommended amount of sleep.
  • 6 out of 10 college students don’t get adequate sleep.
  • Sleep deprivation costs the US $411 billion annually.
  • 45% of the world’s population have issues with sleep.

Key Statistics on Sleep: Infographic

Sleep Statistics – infographic

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Sleep Deprivation Statistics

Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences for your health, with alarming data showing how it can impact both your physical and mental wellbeing.

According to the findings from a Gallup poll, Americans currently get an average of 6.8 hours of sleep each night.

Compare this with 1942, and we can see that more than 80% of people were getting between seven and nine hours.

The situation has become serious enough for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to declare insufficient sleep a ‘public health problem’.

2. Since 1985 the percentage of adults getting less than six hours sleep each night has increased by 31%.[2]

3. In 1910 the average person slept 9 hours a night.[3]

Did you know?

‘Nap cafes’, like pop & rest in London, are popping up around the world. A little pod you can rent for a siesta!

Nap Cafes are popping up around the world

4. Sleep deprivation costs the US $411 billion annually.[4]

That’s only slightly more than the population of the US spend on home improvements each year![5]

A worldwide research project conducted by Rand Europe found that tired or absent employees had a huge impact on the economy of a country.

The findings highlighted that the United States was suffering the biggest impact, with Japan and Germany not too far behind.

Researchers also looked at how small changes could make a difference and discovered that if people slept just one extra hour per night it could add over $200 billion to the US economy.

5. People aged between 45-54 years old get the least sleep.[6]

A recent study conducted by the CDC into short sleep duration, which is classed as less than 7 hours in a 24 hour period, revealed that the 25-54 year old age group need a good night’s sleep!

AGE GROUP% NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP
18-24 years old32%
25-34 years old38%
35-44 years old38%
45-54 years old39%
55-64 years old36%
65+ years old26%

6. Three quarters of those who suffer from depression also suffer from a lack of sleep.[7]

Did you know?

A lack of sleep has been shown to have an impact on your weight.[8]

7. An estimated 22 million Americans have sleep apnea, which is thought to be linked to obesity.[9]

8. Up to 13% of obesity in children could be attributed to sleep deprivation.[10]

9. Up to 5% of obesity in adults could be attributed to short sleep.[11]

Links have also been found between sleep deprivation and those who suffer from chronic pain, specifically back pain.

Did you know?

A recent study found that 3 in 10 Americans want a ‘sleep divorce’ from their partner, so they can move in to separate beds.[12]

10. Chronic pain sufferers experience an average 42 minute sleep debt.[13]

11. One in three adults say that their everyday activities, including sleep, are affected by lower back pain.[14]

12. An estimated 775 people died in 2018 in crashes involving drowsy driving.[15]

According to data, from 2009 to 2013, more than 72,000 car crashes in the US involved tired drivers, though it was agreed that drowsy driving is significantly underreported.

Did you know?

50,000 to 100,000 patients die in US hospitals every year from medical errors, with inadequate sleep among physicians thought to be a factor.[16]

Doctors' sleep deprivation is thought to contribute to fatal medical errors

Sleep Disorder Statistics

There are thought to be 90 distinct sleep disorders that are currently being diagnosed and treated across the US.

From sleep apnea to sleep paralysis, there are a number of shocking statistics that reveal the increase in sleep disorders:

1. According to a study by the US Department of Health and Human Services, roughly 20% of Americans have a sleep disorder.[17]

It’s estimated that 27% of adults in America have trouble sleeping most nights, according to a new Consumer Report, which surveyed 4,023 adults.

With 68%, roughly 164 million Americans, struggling with sleep at least once a week.

Reasons for the difficultly in falling asleep included the fact that we now work longer hours, as well as the use of electronic devices before bed.

Longer working hours are affecting our ability to fall asleep easily

2. Up to 35% of adults experience brief symptoms of insomnia.[18]

The most common sleep disorders are as follows, with insomnia being top of the list:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

3. 1 in 10 Americans suffer from chronic insomnia.[19]

4. Research shows up to half of children will experience a sleep problem at some point in their childhood, with up to 5% developing obstructive sleep apnea.[20]

Did you know?

Regular physical exercise can help you sleep better.[21]

5. 90 million Americans snore.[22]

There are a number of different treatments available, with sleep labs growing in popularity across the country.

The labs, such as New York Sleep Disorder Center, are run by sleep medicine doctors who monitor the heart rate, breathing and eye movements of patients for diagnosis and sleep optimization.

Did you know?

Within 5 minutes of waking up, 50% of your dream is forgotten.[23]

6. In the mid 1970s there were a handful of sleep labs providing treatment across the USA, today there are estimated to be 4,700.[24]

Sleep labs are growing in popularity; there are now 4,700 in the USA

Baby and Child Sleep Statistics

Sleep is important to a child’s development, which is why they need more sleep than any other age group, however they are still prone to suffering from sleep disorders and sleep deprivation.

1. Over 2 million children suffer from a sleeping disorder.[25]

2. 52% of children do not get enough sleep.[26]

3. Nearly 7 in 10 babies enjoy co-sleeping some of the time.[27]

4. The percentage of babies sharing a sleep surface with an adult rose from 6.5% in 1993 to 24% in 2015.[28]

Research suggests that parents co-sleeping with their child is increasing, with a number of worrying co-sleeping statistics coming to light.

The National Infant Sleep Position Study published in the US National Library of Medicine found that though medical advice did not recommend co-sleeping, the occurrence had increased among the groups tested.

More than 50% of parents surveyed said they had not received any advice about the safety of co-sleeping from their doctor.

Research suggests that parents co-sleeping with their child is increasing

6. The number of babies dying from accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed increased 184% from 1999 to 2015.[30]

Death by suffocation and strangulation is one of the top five causes of infant death in the US, and though it declined in the early 1990s it has steadily increased.

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D said:

Too many babies in this country are lost to sleep-related deaths that might be prevented. We must do more to ensure every family knows the AAP recommendations — babies should sleep on their backs, without any toys or soft bedding, and in their own crib. Parents are encouraged to share a room with the baby, but not the same bed.

Teenage Sleep Deprivation Statistics

Teenagers need more sleep than adults to function effectively, however the statistics show that they’re not necessarily getting it.

Experts recommend the following amounts of sleep per age group:

  • Infants 4 – 12 months: 12 – 16 hours (including naps)
  • Child 1 – 2 years: 11 – 14 hours (including naps)
  • Child 3 – 5 years: 10 – 13 hours (including naps)
  • Child 6 – 12 years: 9 – 12 hours
  • Teenager: 8 – 10 hours
  • Adult: 7 – 9 hours

Recommended sleep amount for each different age group

However despite the sleep needs of each generation being clear, every age group appears to be reporting a lack of sleep, with teenage sleep deprivation being particularly problematic.

A study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that though teenagers need around nine hours of sleep each night, the average teenager was getting just 6.5 hours every weekday night.

97% of teenagers get less than the recommended amount of sleep each night

2. 3% of teenagers get nine hours of sleep each night.[32]

3. For teenagers, every hour of sleep lost each night increases feelings of sadness and hopelessness by 38%.[33]

A study, published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, painted a worrying picture of the impact lack of sleep had on teenagers.

As well as feelings of hopelessness they found links between a lack of sleep and an increased chance of substance abuse and suicide.

4. Teenagers who put down their smartphone one hour before bed, gain an extra 21 minutes of sleep each night.[34]

College Students Sleep Statistics

1. Up to 60% of college students don’t get adequate sleep.[35]

College students are one group in particular that suffer from sleep deprivation, and some of the college student sleep statistics are quite shocking.

2. 7% of college students meet all the criteria for an insomnia disorder.[36]

3. Most college students get just 6 – 6.9 hours of sleep per night.[37]

Statistics showing the importance of going to bed early highlight how getting the right number of hours each night can have a big impact on your memory and ability to learn.

A journal published by the US National Library of Medicine found that half of college students report daytime sleepiness leading to poorer grades.

4. 82% of college students believe a lack of sleep impacts their academic performance.[38]

Researchers found that college students are more prone to suffering from depression and anxiety, and that lack of sleep could contribute to that.

82% of college students believe a lack of sleep impacts their academic performance

Did you know?

Poor sleep is equal to binge drinking and marijuana use in terms of its impact on academic performance.[39]

Sleeping Pills Statistics

With people struggling more and more with sleep you’ll be unsurprised to hear that the use of sleep medication is rising.

1. Nearly 9 million Americans take prescription sleeping pills.[40]

The study published by the CDC, based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey, found that the prescribing of sleeping pills was rising significantly.

In fact since 1993, the prescribing of sleep medication has risen by over 230% from 2.7 million!

The data compiled showed that there were patterns amongst gender and age groups, with more people over 80 using sleep aids, particularly women.

Nearly 9 million Americans take prescription sleeping pills

2. 18% of those taking prescription sleeping pills, use them daily.[41]

Did you know?

Ditching the bedclothes and sleeping naked has many health benefits.

3. People who take sleeping pills regularly are 35% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer.[42]

According to findings published by the BMJ, sleeping pills could have potentially caused 320,000 to 507,000 extra deaths in the US in 2010.

Further research is needed into the impact of sleep medication, however the controversial study suggested the use of the sleeping aids could be as detrimental to your health as smoking.

Did you know?

China is the most ‘sleep medicated’ country in the world.[43]

Worldwide Sleep Statistics

1. 45% of the world’s population have issues with sleep.[44]

The US might not be getting enough sleep, but it seems the rest of the world is a little sleep deprived too. In fact America doesn’t even rate in the top 5 for lack of sleep across the globe.

According to a recent study published in Science Advance, collated from smartphone data through an app called Entrain, the countries with the worst adult sleep average include:

  • Japan = 5 hours and 59 minutes
  • Saudi Arabia = 6 hours and 8 minutes
  • Sweden = 6 hours and 10 minutes
  • India = 6 hours and 20 minutes
  • The Philippines = 6 hours and 22 minutes

The data also revealed which countries had the most well-rested adults:

  • New Zealand = 7 hours and 30 minutes
  • The Netherlands = 7 hours and 28 minutes
  • Finland = 7 hours and 26 minutes
  • Great Britain = 7 hours and 24 minutes
  • Ireland = 7 hours and 22 minutes

2. Want more sleep? Move to South Dakota![45]

The amount of sleep the average American gets varies depending on the state in which you live.

A huge state-focussed study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was carried out that found that the people of Hawaii were the most sleep deprived, with South Dakota the most rested state.

Did you know?

10% of Americans have ended a relationship over a sleep issue.[46]

Sleep Position Statistics

According to the Better Sleep Council:

  • 47% of adults sleep in the fetal position, making it the most popular way to sleep.
  • 17% of adults sleep on their stomach with their arms above their head.
  • 13% of adults sleep on their side with both arms out in front of their body.
  • 11% of adults sleep on their back with their arms by their side.

If you’re wondering what is the best sleep position for your wellbeing, then you might be surprised to hear that sleeping on your back is recommended.

It does, however, continue to be one of the least popular ways to sleep. Professor Shelby Harris, a sleep medicine expert, recommends:

Resting your head on a pillow that’s thick—or thin—enough to keep your skull exactly level with your body.

Sleep and Technology Statistics

The use of mobile technology before bed is not recommended as it can interrupt our sleep in a few different ways:

    • The blue light emitted by technology inhibits the secretion of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep
    • Scrolling can be stimulating, meaning you’re less relaxed
    • People can become engrossed and stay up beyond their usual bedtime

However despite all the advice saying the same thing, so many of us are still guilty of bedtime scrolling:

1. 90% of teenagers and adults use technology before bed.[47]

Did you know?

The streaming service Netflix claims ‘sleep’ is its biggest competition, with users staying awake to binge-watch their favourite series.

90% of teenagers and adults use technology before bed

2. 10% of the population wake multiple nights a week due to activity on their phone.[48]

22% of people surveyed reported keeping their cell phone ringer switched on during the night, with evidence highlighting that they had difficulty maintaining sleep.

3. 72% of Americans with a sleep disorder report using technology before bed each night.[49]

Here were the most popular activities before bed:

  1. Watching Television (70.2%)
  2. Checking Social Media (59.4%)
  3. Playing Video Games (32.9%)
  4. Checking Emails (31.8%)

Interestingly though, technology can be a part of the solution as well as the problem!

33.6% of respondents reported switching to a smart bed or mattress to help fix their sleep problems.

If you want to know more about how to get a great night’s sleep, then you need to read our list of 11 foods to improve your sleep.

Including a few late night snacks you might want to avoid!

References

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  32. Winsler, A. et al. (see footnote 31)
  33. Rodriguez, T. (2015). Teenagers Who Don't Get Enough Sleep at Higher Risk for Mental Health Problems [Online]. Scientific American. Available from: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/teenagers-who-don-t-get-enough-sleep-at-higher-risk-for-mental-health-problems/ [Accessed 23 May 2021].
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  36. Schlapp, A. et al. (see footnote 35)
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  40. Aleccia, JN. (2013). Sleepless in the states: Nearly 9 million pop pills for shut-eye [Online]. NBC News. Available from: https://www.nbcnews.com/healthmain/sleepless-states-nearly-9-million-pop-pills-shut-eye-8C11026819 [Accessed 25 May 2021].
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  44. World Sleep Day (2021). Talking Points [Online]. Available from: https://worldsleepday.org/usetoolkit/talking-points [Accessed 25 May 2021].
  45. Chen, A. (2016). Want To Get A Great Night's Sleep? Head To South Dakota [Online]. http://npr.org. Available from: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/02/18/467225636/want-to-get-a-great-nights-sleep-head-to-south-dakota [Accessed 25 May 2021].
  46. Young, S. (see footnote 12)
  47. Sleep Health Foundation (2016). Technology & Sleep [Online]. Available from: https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/technology-sleep.html [Accessed 25 May 2021].
  48. Grandner, M. Gallagher, R. and Gooneratne, N. (2013). The Use of Technology at Night: Impact on Sleep and Health [Online]. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Available from: https://jcsm.aasm.org/doi/10.5664/jcsm.3274 [Accessed 25 May 2021].
  49. Gavidia, M. (2020). US Study Examines Impact of Technology Use on Sleep Disorders [Online]. AJMC. Available from: https://www.ajmc.com/view/us-study-examines-impact-of-technology-use-on-sleep-disorders [Accessed 25 May 2021].