The National Sleep Foundation recently applied real numbers to the concept of sleep quantity vs quality. Specifically, Americans report sleeping an average of 7 hours and 36 minutes a night; on average going to bed at 10:55 p.m. and waking at 6:38 a.m. on workdays, and sleeping roughly 40 minutes longer on non-workdays or weekends.
Despite sleeping within the recommended number of hours a night, 35 percent of Americans report their sleep quality as “poor” or “only fair.” Twenty percent of Americans reported that they did not wake up feeling refreshed on any of the past seven days.
Overall health was highly associated with sleep quality. Sixty-seven percent of those with less than good sleep quality also report “poor” or “only fair” health, with 27 percent reporting otherwise “good” health. Low life satisfaction and high stress were also related to sleep quality. Groups that reported poorer sleep quality were those with an annual income of less than $20,000, those with education levels of high school or less, and Americans between 30 and 64 years old compared to younger American adults ages 18-29.
“The findings from the Sleep Health Index demonstrate a need for sleep health improvement,” said David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “Sleep is an important factor in overall health. We suggest that Americans and their doctors talk about sleep as a vital sign of health and well-being.”
Gender Divides Sleep Issues
Women are more likely to report insomnia symptoms; men are more likely to say they snore, supporting previous data that have shown women are more commonly diagnosed with insomnia and men with sleep apnea.
“It is well-established that men are at much greater risk of obstructive sleep apnea than women and this could explain the differences in snoring, which can be a sign of sleep apnea,” said Kristen Knutson, National Sleep Foundation Poll Fellow. “The increased rate of insomnia in women is not fully understood but may be related to increased anxiety or depression or simply gender differences in willingness to report a problem.”
Surprisingly, 24 percent of women say they have woken up feeling well-rested zero of the past seven days, compared to 16 percent of men, despite reporting similar sleep times.
The Sleep Health Index TM found that a higher proportion of individuals were told by a doctor that they have sleep apnea than previous reports. “The Index found that 11.6 percent of the US population had been told by their physician that they have sleep apnea,” said the Vice-Chair of the NSF Board, Max Hirshkowitz. “Epidemiological research estimates that approximately 25 percent of the adult population has the condition which suggests that another 13 percent of those with sleep apnea remained undiagnosed.”