Americans used to brag about how little they slept. Now, the Better Sleep Council has revealed a recent shift in our attitudes towards sleep—plus some contradicting survey results.
Mary Helen Rogers, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) explains how getting enough quality sleep is becoming a status symbol in the U.S., stating “over the past few years, the Better Sleep Council has noticed that people aren’t bragging about how little sleep they’re getting, they’re bragging about how much sleep they are getting.”
Status symbol or not, a new survey shows this recent attitude shift isn’t reflected in our actual sleep habits. The Better Sleep Council released new data from a survey which asked Americans about their sleep regimens, and found some interesting trends. (We’re not just talking a few hundred people; the survey looked at millions of people’s sleep habits.)
The survey shows we all could use some improvements in bed. When asked about our bedtime habits and sleep behavior best practices—things like limiting screen time and falling asleep relatively the same time each night, along with questions around feeling well-rested, and how long it takes to get out of bed—Americans overall earned a grade of a C-, which is around 70%.
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On average, men scored a bit higher than women throughout the survey, creating news headlines like “men are better in bed” and “men now have bragging rights.” And sure, the data did show that men outperformed their female counterparts when it comes to being well-rested, but it’s safe to say we all could use some progress.
— The Sleep Advisor (@sleepadvisormag) May 1, 2018
Two instances where women underperformed were around their ability to fall asleep (sleep latency!) and their ability to get out of bed the next morning. The numbers showed that 34 million women (21% of female participants) experience trouble falling and staying asleep, and almost 20 million (or 12%) hit snooze as soon as they wake. Unfortunately, we don’t have the full survey results, so we can’t compare these numbers to see how big a difference there is between men and women.
In addition to these results, the data revealed men engage in better sleep habits, from choosing to sleep alone (55 million men), following a strict bedtime (22 million men), and—what seems super impressive to me—not having any caffeine drinks past noon (35 million men!). Again, we don’t have the full data set, so it’s unclear how much “better” these male results are from the female results. Moreover, it’s hard to jump to vast conclusions when only looking at gender-identification split and leaving things out like age, location (urban vs. rural), job (which could amount to different stress levels), diet, and other external factors that affect our sleep habits.
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Still, what this data does reveal is a lot of Americans can do better in bed, whether you’re a man or a woman. Focusing on a bedtime routine, keeping electronics out of the bedroom, and foregoing snooze in the morning are great habits to focus on, and will hopefully improve those numbers the next time a survey from Better Sleep Council is conducted.