Screen Time and Sleep: Survey Reveals Generational Trends
Table of Contents
Screen Time is the Predominant Bedtime and Wake Up Routine for 2 in 3 Americans
Two in three people spend the majority of their nights and mornings viewing a screen before falling asleep and while waking up. Younger generations do this even more, with seven in ten Gen Zers viewing a screen before bed and upon waking up in the morning for at least most days.
Pre-bedtime screen use is more common than wake-up screen time, with 89.2% of people saying they use a screen for most or all nights before bed. Gen Z led the way with 92.1% using a screen before bed at least most of the time.
71.8% of people use a screen for most of their mornings upon waking up — and once again, Gen Z had the highest percentage at 76.1%. However, Baby Boomers led the way with the largest percentage — 53.0% — saying they use a screen every morning upon waking up. This is likely due to different screen usage trends, as Baby Boomers were more likely to use screens in the morning for emailing (25.6%), while Gen Zers were more likely to use social media (55.7%).
Gen Zers were kept awake by a screen for an average of 3.09 nights per week, over double the amount of nights for Baby Boomers (1.44). Gen Zers also had the highest average self-reported stress rating and the largest percentage of respondents struggling to sleep 3 nights a week or more.
42% of People Use Social Media for Most or All of Their Bedtime and Wake-Up Routines
Around 4 in 10 people use social media most of the time around bedtime and waking up. Evening social media use is more common than morning usage, with 61.69% of people using social media for most or all nights prior to sleeping.
Almost 8 in 10 Gen Zers use social media for most of their evenings before bed, just shy of double the rate for Baby Boomers.
A smaller proportion, around five in ten people, report using social media for most or all of their mornings upon waking up. Gen Zers were above average again, with 63.9% doing so.
Our data shows that screens keep American adults awake for an average of 2.42 nights per week. Adults who use social media for most days upon waking up and before falling asleep are kept awake by their screens around 3 nights per week, and those who wake up and fall asleep with social media every day are kept awake by screen time for 3.48 nights on average. The data shows that the more people use social media around their sleep and wake times, the more they may struggle with sleep.
Gen Zers Are Almost Two Times as Likely as Baby Boomers to Try to Avoid Morning and Evening Screen Time, But Face More Difficulties
40.89% of Gen Zers said they have attempted to avoid screen time before bed or upon waking up in the past month, compared to just 20.95% of Baby Boomers.
87.45% of Gen Z said that it would be difficult for them to cut down on their nighttime screen time, compared to 64.86% of Baby Boomers, suggesting that they may find it easier to avoid nighttime screen time than younger generations, like Gen Z and Millennials.
Stress Levels vs. Morning and Evening Screen Use
Participants were asked to rate their overall stress level on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “not stressed” and 10 being “extremely stressed.” For reference, the average self-reported stress level in our survey was 5.44 out of 10, and Gen Z’s average rating was 8.2% higher while Baby Boomer’s average was 17.5% lower.
Our results show that the stress level for respondents who always use a screen upon waking up was 23.52% higher than those who never do so. And, the stress level for respondents who always use a screen at night before bed was 29.74% higher than those that never use a screen before falling asleep.
Sleepopolis surveyed 1,495 American adults on their screen usage and sleep habits through CloudResearch’s Connect survey platform. The data was collected from September 13th to September 14th, 2023.
Fair Use Statement
You are welcome to reference any of the data or graphics in this report with a link back to this page. If you have any questions or are interested in discussing these survey findings with a member of our team, please reach out to Brianna Auray (firstname.lastname@example.org), Data Analyst at Sleepopolis.