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45 Astounding Sleep Statistics & Facts You Didn’t Know

by Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD

We all know how important sleep is for our health. It’s almost as important as nutrition and regular exercise. And yet, people all around the world are not getting enough sleep. The majority of information we have about sleep has only been discovered in the last 25 years, and scientists are constantly making new discoveries about the physiology as well as the pathology of sleep.

In this post, we bring you the most curious sleep statistics and facts about sleep habits, sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, insomnia, snoring, and so on. Keep reading to find out more!

10 of the Most Interesting Sleep Stats & Facts:

  • 12% of people dream only in black and white.
  • There are over 70 different sleep disorders.
  • You can commit crimes while you are asleep.
  • Sleep-related accidents in workplaces cost a shocking $31 billion a year.
  • Around 80% of people with sleep apnea might not know they suffer from it.
  • 11 days is the record for the longest period without sleep.
  • 35% of adults in the United States are sleep-deprived.
  • Sleep deprivation was used as a form of punishment.
  • 9 million US adults use sleeping pills.
  • 28% of Americans change bedsheets less often than every 3 weeks.

General Sleep Facts

Sleep Statistics

1. Most adults need 7–9 hours of sleep.

(National Sleep Foundation)

Generally, most healthy adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Of course, there are some people who can function normally with only 6 hours of sleep, and not feel drowsy or sleepy. And then again, there are some who need 10 hours of sleep to function normally.

2. We spend one-third of our lives sleeping.

(Cleveland Clinic)

As infants, we sleep around 16 hours a night, 9 hours as teens and 7 to 8 hours as adults. Older adults typically spend around 7 hours or less sleeping. Add all that up, and you get around 25 years in bed.

3. Your body is very active while you are asleep.

(Better Sleep)

While you are soundly asleep, dreaming about the things you love the most, your cells repair themselves, your brain rests and recharges, your immune system replenishes, while your body releases important hormones.

4. We all need different nap times.

(National Sleep Foundation)

Sleep statistics worldwide report that the need for a nap is individual. Some children and people need to take a nap. But, a vast number of teenagers need a nap in the afternoon, because they are not getting enough sleep during the night.

5. 12% of people dream only in black and white.

(Dreams)

Researchers have found that before color television was invented, 15% of people have dreamt in color, and others dreamt in black and white. Recent sleep studies also show that old people dream in black and white more often than young ones.

Sleep Disorders

Sleep Statistics

6. There are over 70 different sleep disorders.

(Health Communities)

If you’ve ever wondered how many sleep disorders are there, let us answer your question. More than 70 different sleep disorders have been discovered. They are grouped into three different categories: lack of sleep, disturbed sleep, and excessive sleep. In the majority of cases, sleep disorders can be managed if they are diagnosed correctly.

7. How many people have sleep disorders? That would be 40 million!

(Health Communities)

Sleep disorders are mainly caused by excessive stress. They include sleep apnea, snoring, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, parasomnia, narcolepsy, and many others. They are usually caused by excessive everyday stress, various medical conditions, daytime sleepiness, and so on.

8. You can commit crimes while you are asleep.

(Better Sleep)

One of the more unusual sleep disorders, the one that can make you do unnatural things while you are asleep is called “somnambulism” or, as everyone knows it “sleepwalking.” It is a type of parasomnia. Documented crimes committed during sleepwalking include murder, rape, child molesting, sleep-driving and writing bad cheques. Usually, these behaviors have meaning to the individual. The underlying cause of this condition may be sleep apnea.

9. Nearly 30% of Americans suffer from insomnia.

(Fast Company)

And if you are wondering what is the most common sleep disorder, the answer is insomnia. Approximately 30% of Americans suffer from it. The inability to sleep or to maintain sleep at night can be caused by stress, medications, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and many other factors. Some people may have a few bad nights of sleep, but insomnia is a chronic issue, not a temporary. 

10. 50% of the world’s population suffers from insomnia.

(Alaska Sleep Clinic)

Ask yourself these simple questions: Do you have trouble falling asleep? Is it difficult for you to stay asleep? Do you wake up at night and can’t go back to sleep? If your answer to any of them is “yes” you might have insomnia. However, you are not alone. If you wonder how many people suffer from insomnia, you should know that every other person has experienced it at some point in their lives.

11. Insomnia statistics show that it affects women more than men.

(American Sleep Association)

Insomnia can affect anyone and at any time, but certain factors may increase that risk. One of the factors for developing this sleep disorder is your gender. Statistics show that women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than men.

12. 44% of men and 28% of women aged 30–60 snore.

(Very Well Health)

Nearly everyone has experienced snoring at some point in their lives. It may not seem as a sleep disorder, but if snoring occurs it may suggest that the throat or nose are obstructed. If the air passage is completely blocked, it may lead to a more serious disorder – sleep apnea. Some of the reasons for snoring include obesity, allergies, enlarged tonsils, and snoring stats report that men suffer from it more often than women.

13. Around 80% of people with sleep apnea might not know they have it.

(Alaska Sleep Clinic)

Sleep apnea happens when a person stops breathing for a few seconds during the night. It happens when the brain fails to initiate a breath, which is called central sleep apnea. It can also happen when the soft tissue in the throat relaxes, falls in and blocks the breathing, which is known as obstructive sleep apnea.

14. The continuous positive airway pressure device market is growing by 7.2% every year.

(Market Research)

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that sleep clinics diagnose and treat most often. According to the latest research and sleep apnea statistics the CPAP device market is currently worth $4.3 billion and growing year after year. The market has great potential since more and more people are diagnosed with sleep apnea.

15. 25% of people are affected by sleep paralysis.

(Very Well Health)

Sleep paralysis can be awful and frightening. It happens when you’re transitioning from awake to asleep, or vice versa. You are temporarily unable to move, and there are often horrendous hallucinations. It is quite common since a quarter of the world population suffers from this sleep disorder.

16. Up to 50% of children experience a sleeping disorder.

(American Family Physician)

Adults are not the only ones suffering. Children’s sleep disorders are also common. Almost half of the children around the globe will experience snoring, sleep apnea, parasomnias, restless legs syndrome, or some other type of sleep disorder.

17. 7–10% of the American population suffers from restless legs syndrome.

(National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

Restless legs syndrome, or RLS, is an uncomfortable feeling in the legs that triggers the urge to move. The cause of this sleeping disorder is still unknown.

18. Sleep terrors are considered to be a form of sleep disorder.

(Fast Company)

Night terrors usually occur when a person is not completely awake. Symptoms involve violent movements, screaming, and the inability to calm down after waking up. According to sleep disorders statistics, night terrors generally impact children. Adults are rarely affected by it.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep Statistics

19. 35% of adults in the United States are sleep-deprived.

(American Thoracic Society)

In other words, this means that they sleep less than 7 hours per night. Sleep deprivation happens when an individual is not able to get the amount of sleep that a human body needs to feel rested and refreshed. Therefore, the body can’t function well and it can’t repair itself during the night. This puts you at risk from developing diabetes, among many other diseases. Sleep deprivation can lead to many negative health effects. So, how common is sleep deprivation? Very common. More than a third of US adults suffer from it.

20. 11 days is the record for the longest period without sleep.

(Dreams)

In 1964 Randy Garner conducted sleep deprivation experiments and set the Guinness world record. Many other people have died staying awake for this long. Of course, it is not recommended to try and break this record. As a matter of fact, Guinness does not accept any new attempts to break this record because it is considered too dangerous.

21. Sleep-related accidents in workplaces cost a shocking $31 billion a year.

(All One Health)

Lack of sleep is a public health epidemic, and the newest sleep deprivation statistics report that sleep deprivation is responsible for 274,000 workplace accidents and errors each year. Nearly 1 in 3 employees admit that sleepiness during the day interferes with their work.

22. There’s a link between how much you weigh and how much you sleep.

(Harvard T. H. Chan)

People who are sleep deprived have less energy and are therefore often too tired to exercise. They also consume more calories since they are awake for longer. Sleep deprivation disrupts the balance of the hormones that control the appetite, so people who suffer from sleep deprivation are hungrier. Therefore, the connection between obesity and sleep is pretty clear.

23. Sleep deprivation was used as a form of punishment.

(Consumer Reports)

Hippolytus de Marsiliis, an Italian lawyer, was the first man to document sleep deprivation as a way of punishing prisoners. He merely confirmed what people have known for ages, that not getting enough sleep is indeed torture.

24. More than 50% of college students suffer from sleep deprivation.

(Sleep Advisor)

The majority of college students are only getting 6–7 hours of sleep per night, according to the student sleep statistics. Their major also plays a major role in whether they are getting enough sleep. Medical students, somewhat ironically, suffer the most.

25. 8 in 10 college students admit that sleep deprivation is affecting their academic performance.

(National Center for Biotechnology Information)

Some students have sleeping problems because of caffeine, alcohol, energy drinks, and the use of phones before bed. This leads to sleep deprivation, and sleep-deprived college students are more likely to have low grades, poor performance, and concentration issues. The latest college students’ sleep statistics show that daytime sleepiness and lack of sleep also affect their mood and memory, which leads to poor academic performance.

26. 30–50% of college students regularly take naps.

(Sleep Advisor)

Although the majority of college students nap on the regular, this doesn’t help cure their sleep deprivation. Napping during the day only enhances sleeping less at night, and this leads to even less sleep overall.

27. Sleeping in on weekends doesn’t help your sleep deprivation.

(Sleep Advisor)

Sleeping in can actually worsen your sleep deprivation problem. Lack of sleep statistics show that our bodies can only get accustomed to 2 extra hours of sleep. Everything more than that can disrupt your sleeping pattern. 46 Shocking Sleep Statistics & Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

28. 9 million US adults use sleeping pills.

(Sleep Advisor)

Although this number is shockingly high, China is the leader when it comes to using prescription drugs for sleep. People who use sleeping pills also have a 35% higher chance of getting cancer. The mortality rate also rises with the more frequent use of sleeping pills.

29. Every age group needs a different amount of sleep.

(American Thoracic Society)

Sleep needs by age may vary, but these are the recommended durations. Newborns need 14 to 17 hours of sleep, including naps. Infants need 12 to 15 hours, also including naps. Toddlers need 11 to 14 hours, while preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours, with naps, too. School-age children need 9 to 11 hours and teenagers 8 to 10 hours. They don’t need naps, though occasional nap can be healthy. Adults and older adults need 7 to 9 and 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, respectively.

Technology and Sleep

Sleep Statistics

30. The smart mattress market grows by 8.51% annually.

(Sleep Advisor)

It was worth $92 million in 2017, but spring mattresses are still the most popular. They are followed by memory foam mattresses and latex beds.

31. 8% of US adults use a sleep tracking application.

(Statista)

Over 10% of them say they use sleep trackers regularly and 12% occasionally. Women use sleep trackers more often compared to men, by 50%.

32. 89% of parents use electronic devices in their bedrooms.

(National Sleep Foundation)

62% of them have a TV, and 45% are using a smartphone before sleep. Using gadgets in your bedroom may cause sleep disruption since electronic devices emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin and keeps your brain alert and awake. Limit the use of electronic devices before bedtime, or if you really have to use them, try blue light blocking glasses.

33. Around 72% of children sleep with their devices in their bedrooms.

(Sleep)

Keeping a phone during the night in the bedroom leads to sleep disruption caused by messages, emails, calls or calendar reminders. Further, this leads to less sleep on school nights, so parents should limit their children’s use of technology in the bedroom.

Sleeping Habits

Sleep Statistics

34. 38% of Americans change bedsheets less often than every three weeks.

(National Sleep Foundation)

62% of the US adults change their sheets every week, and the Japanese are leading by changing their sheets most rarely. You should change your bed sheets every week, your mattress as recommended by its manufacturer, and even your bed frame when it’s time to do so.

35. Every fourth American goes to bed at the same time as their partner.

(Statista) (Dreams)

Only 1 in 5 of the surveyed US adults does this occasionally, and 1 in 4 couples even sleep in separate bedrooms.

36. 24.4% of parents share the bed with their infants.

(Statista)

American pediatricians generally don’t recommend sleeping in the same bed with your children, but this trend has been steadily growing in the last years.

American Sleep Statistics

Sleep Statistics

37. In 1910 the average American slept for 9 hours a night.

(The Good Body)

Since 1985 the number of people who get less than 6 hours of sleep has increased by 31%. And an astounding 35% of adult Americans do not get the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night. The numbers don’t lie, Americans are not getting enough sleep. These shocking facts further impose another logical question regarding the sleep quality of the average US adult. So, how much sleep does the average American get? Only 6.8 hours a night.

38. There are almost 3000 sleep labs across America.

(The Good Body) (Tuck)

Sleep clinics are essentially labs where patients’ sleep is monitored and adequate treatment is provided. In the 70s there were only a handful of these sleep clinics.

39. The amount of sleep depends on the state you live in.

(The Good Body)

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that people living in Hawaii had the highest percentage of sleep deprivation, while South Dakota residents had the healthiest amount of sleep.

40. Sleeping statistics show that 90 million Americans snore.

(The Good Body)

This number seems less shocking if we have in mind the information that 35% of US adults are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation often leads to sleeping disorders like snoring.

41. 68% of Americans struggle with sleep at least once a week.

(The Good Body)

According to sleep statistics from 2018, that is approximately 164 million people. The main reasons for this problem are longer working hours, which cause great stress, and the use of electronic devices before sleep.

More Interesting Facts Related to Sleep

Sleep Statistics

42. Recently, nap cafes have gained popularity.

(The Good Body)

Nap cafes are gaining popularity not only in the US but all over the world, as well. They provide the customers with a little pod that they can rent for a quick nap.

43. Women need more sleep than men.

(Start Sleeping)

According to sleep statistics from 2019, differences in sleep between men and women range from 5 to 28 minutes, where women need 20 minutes more sleep than men, on average. 

44. The altitude influences sleep disruption.

(National Sleep Foundation)

Sleep stats show that the greater the altitude, the greater the chance for sleep disruption. This happens because of diminished oxygen levels and changes in breathing. In general, people can adjust to new altitudes in 2 to 3 weeks.

45. People have 3 to 5 dreams every night.

(American Sleep Association)

Some people can even have 7 dreams per night. Most of the dreams are forgotten in the first five minutes after waking up because we can only remember them if we are awake during the REM phase of sleep. 

Conclusion

People often neglect the importance of sleep. We are overwhelmed with everyday stress, anxiety, our private life and career, and other responsibilities. We think that cutting an hour or two of a good night’s sleep to do all of our daily tasks will do us no harm. However, the sleep statistics we have presented here show us that we’re wrong. Hopefully, they will help you improve your sleep and well-being.

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