Do you feel alone at night? We can assure you that it is not. According to the Better Sleep Council’s 2022 States of America’s Sleep Study, a rising number of Americans suffer from poor sleep. More people report that they sleep well than ever before. There is no middle ground when it comes down to sleep. The reasons why you aren’t getting enough sleep can be just as simple as they seem.
We surveyed 2000 Americans for the third consecutive year to assess their sleep quality and track trends. As with many other things in 2020 this study showed that sleep was more polarized.
Mary Helen Rogers (vice president of marketing, and communications) says that the percentage of people we consider poor sleepers has increased by 6% since our first study in 2019. “At the exact same time, there has been a 2% increase in the number of good sleepers, which has also increased over the same period. “There’s not much in the middle.”
The Great COVID-19 Pandemic Edge
It’s not surprising that the COVID-19 epidemic has played a major role in pushing us into extreme sleep patterns. The direct and indirect effects of the pandemic seem to impact who is getting restful sleep and who is struggling.
- Poor sleepers were three times more likely to have been diagnosed in the past 12 months with a medical condition than those who are excellent sleepers. It was almost twice as common (17% versus 10%, respectively) for them to have lost a family member in the same time period. Although we cannot draw any direct connections to the COVID-19 epidemic in either case, both a large number of deaths and illnesses suggest that many people suffered from sleeplessness and a lack of sleep.
- In the past year, Great sleepers were able to save money for college (70%) or home expenses (63%) More than a third (37%) are optimistic about the economy. These people likely stayed at their jobs during the lockdowns and felt secure about their finances. They may also have used stimulus payments to help save for their nest eggs.
- Two out of five poor sleepers feel their financial situation has deteriorated over the past year. Nearly half of respondents (48%) feel that their mental/emotional state has also been affected by the pandemic. Many people felt that isolation and income pressure were their main stressors throughout 2020. This in turn led to sleep problems.
Better Habits Start a Better Sleep
There are many factors that can affect our sleep quality. Our study found that a variety of lifestyle choices can influence our sleep quality.
- A third of good sleepers (74%) regularly exercise and nearly one-third (32%) have increased their activity over the past year. Excellent sleepers are seven times more likely to enjoy exercising than those who sleep poorly. If you want to get better sleep, smile while wearing your yoga pants.
- In the last year, poor sleepers reported significant increases (42%) in screen time and alcohol consumption (22%). We all know that blue light, booze and are bad for sleep.
Rogers says, “In addition to practicing good sleeping hygiene, I encourage people to assess the mattress condition.” Rogers says that putting good sleeping habits into practice will not do any good if your mattress is old and worn.
On Which Side Are You?
Are you a great sleeper? Is sleep a problem for you? Compare your experience with others in the country. Explore the complete results of our 2021 State of America Sleep Study:
- Find out if people who live in cities sleep better than those who live in the country.
- Find out if a Boomer is more restful than a Millennial.
- Find out who is more likely to use noise machines at night.
- Find out how much a good sleeper makes per year, compared to a poor one.
- These and many other sleep characteristics are worth studying – both good and bad.