New Survey: How Often Do People Really Get a Good Night’s Sleep?

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how sleep reduces stress

From Huberman to Huffington, it seems like everyone’s talking about sleep — how to do it, how to do it right, and how to keep it going night after night. Week after week, month after month, we lean into sleep trackers, apps, pills, and supplements in search of perfection. But how often do these helpers actually help? According to a recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Cornbread Hemp, Americans only achieve perfect sleep 132 times per year (or 36 percent) (1). 

What’s Keeping People Up at Night?

According to the survey, 58 percent of respondents reported being plagued by concerns about their physical health, while 56 percent ruminate about what’s on their to-do list the next day, and 51 percent cite mental health concerns as their reason for lying awake into the wee hours. Interestingly, 48 percent said they were equally likely to stress about real-life and hypothetical situations. 

What Are People Doing About Imperfect Sleep?

When sleep doesn’t come easily, 59 percent of respondents say they look at their phones, 49 percent eat snacks, and 39 percent stare at the ceiling. 

When it really doesn’t come easy, 44 percent indicate they’ve tried warm milk, 37 percent have tried CBD, and 29 percent sought relief from the favorite son among sleep supplements — melatonin. Of all the interventions people have tried, only 28 percent said their method was “very effective.” 

What Would People Give Up for Perfect Sleep?

Undoubtedly, we’ve all laid awake at some point and given some real thought to what we would give for a good night’s sleep. If you ever bargained with technology and a comfy bed, you’re in good company. 

In exchange for a “perfect” night’s sleep, free of stress every single day for a year, 48 percent of respondents indicated they would give up their WiFi, while 43 percent said they would trade their bed, and 41 percent were willing to go as far as sacrificing indoor plumbing. 

So What Is Perfect Sleep, Anyway?

“Using the word perfection is a tough one, as people measure perfection based on criteria that are unique to their schedule, body type, health and wellness conditions, comfort level, and ability to achieve ‘perfect’ sleep,” says Lauri Leadley, Founder & President at Valley Sleep Center in Arizona. 

Ultimately, Leadly says sleep perfection may be an aggregate of several factors. “Perfect sleep means the wind down “ritual” has been defined and is achieved consistently, the sleep is dependable (in that whatever number of hours is needed for the individual is the same every night), and sleep and wake times remain consistent — even on the weekends,” she says. 

Moreover, Leadly adds, “Sleep is really about accomplishing three things — cell regeneration, memory making, and feeling rested upon waking. Perfect sleep is about giving your body the time it needs to cycle through the sleep process, and it’s measured by how you feel in the morning. If you wake up tired each morning and find it difficult to get out of bed or hit the snooze button repeatedly and have to drag yourself through the day, you’re missing something. On the other hand, good sleep leaves you feeling restored, refreshed, and ready to conquer the day.” 

Tips for Improving Your Sleep

We know that good sleep hygiene can improve sleep quality, and Leadly reiterates its importance when she says, “Perfect sleep can be attained in a number of ways, but ultimately it’s about habits.” If sleep eludes you more than you’d like, she suggests leaning into a good bedtime routine and finding a way to destress. 

Keep Sleep and Wake Times Consistent

“Binge-watching your favorite program until the wee hours may be tempting, but just as we would tell our children to go to bed at a decent hour, we must tell ourselves the same.” Beyond turning the TV off at a reasonable hour, good sleep hygiene also means keeping our sleep and wake times consistent.

Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Having a sound bedtime routine is also key to achieving a perfect (or at the very least, good) night’s sleep. Leadly suggests a warm bath or cool shower in the summer, herbal tea, meditation, or reading as great ways to wind down.

Put Away Your Devices

“Silencing devices (so you can clear and quiet your mind) is something that most of us struggle with,” says Leadly. “So leave your devices outside the bedroom. If you use your phone’s alarm to wake up, consider silencing notifications and keep it off the nightstand. You can wake up to the alarm and get out of bed to turn it off.”

Find a Way to Destress

“Since stress seems to be the #1 cause for many things that negatively affect our health, it’s important to learn how to destress,” says Leadly. “See a therapist if needed, and make sure you don’t take work home (or to bed) with you.  

  • Leadley, Lauri. Author interview. January 2024.

  • 1. Talker Research, “How many times per year do Americans get a perfect night’s sleep?” Talker;; January 9, 2024.

Sharon Brandwein

Sharon Brandwein

Sharon Brandwein is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and a freelance writer. She specializes in health and beauty, parenting, and of course, all things sleep. Sharon’s work has also appeared on ABC News, USAToday, and Forbes. When she’s not busy writing, you might find her somewhere curating a wardrobe for her puppy.

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