Maybe you are a midnight snacker, heading to the fridge on your way to bed. Or maybe, if insomnia strikes at 3 a.m., you head for the pantry. If you are lucky enough, someone’s bringing you breakfast in bed. Whenever it happens, around one in three Americans are eating right in their beds, a recent survey from the UK reveals (1). The survey, conducted by Mattress Next Day, asked 1,500 people about their bedtime and sleeping habits, including where they are eating those snacks.
The results pointed to some other interesting habits that might suggest just why so many of us get poor sleep, including:
We Go To Bed Late
Is 11 p.m. too late for a work night? 40 percent of Americans don’t think so, even though they are supposed to get seven hours per sleep each night. So, with around half of Americans waking 1-2 times per night as well, it all adds up to insufficient sleep for many. On the weekends, Americans sleep in a bit, but 20% still only get six hours.
We Drink Caffeine Right Before Bed
Though you’ve likely heard the term “sleep hygiene,” it seems not many practice it, including drinking caffeine right up to bedtime — 34 percent say they’ll drink it whenever, and 37 percent don’t have a cut-off for snacks either. If you find yourself reaching for that pint of ice cream, try some foods proven to help you sleep instead, from bananas to almonds.
We Just Can’t Sleep Through the Night
Those 1-2 wake-ups each night come from some clear issues, the survey shows: we get thirsty, we have a bad dream, or the room is too hot. The good news is we are pretty efficient at getting back to sleep, with it taking just around 13 minutes. We must be getting good at grabbing a fresh glass of water and heading back into our slumbers as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, a quarter of Americans take more like 30 minutes to get back to sleep, which can add up to some serious sleep debt.
We Still Can’t Escape the Allure of Our Screens
Late night scrolling, Netflix binging, and other screen time habits are still inhibiting our ability to sleep well. It’s no wonder that 1 in 5 Americans is tired every morning, and doesn’t feel rested enough, the survey shows. More than 2 in 3 of us spend evenings watching TV, while a third uses their smartphone or tablet to “unwind.”
We Don’t Just Sleep In Bed
A key tip for better sleep is to reserve your bed for just sleep and sex. Yet, Americans are doing much more than that in bed, a Mattress Next Day spokesperson says. Here’s what they are doing:
- 68 percent: watching shows or movies
- 45 percent: listening to music or podcasts
- 31 percent: eating
- 28 percent: catching up with family and friends on calls
- 27 percent: meditating
- 20 percent: drinking
- 19 percent: working
Even though our health depends on sleep to efficiently run all of our systems, from emotional regulation to digestion and so much more, most of us aren’t prioritizing it, the survey revealed. Time for a refresher on sleep hygiene best practices.
1. Seeley, Martin. “Sleep Hygiene Report: How Well Do Americans Really Sleep?,” Mattress Next Day; https://www.mattressnextday.co.uk/snooze-news/post/sleep-hygiene-report-how-well-do-americans-really-sleep.