How did you sleep last night?

No matter how you answer this question, you may rest easier knowing that you are not alone. 

Sleep issues can affect people of all ages and impact many parts of our lives.

While the science and nature of sleep is too complex to sum up on a single page, taking a peek at sleep statistics nationwide can help you understand key aspects of sleep health, as well as how widespread sleep issues are.

Our Sleep Cycles

Understanding the science of sleep 

In a normal sleep period, a person experiences four to six sleep cycles

  • While cycles vary in length, each sleep cycle can last about 90 minutes
  • Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep makes up 20% to 25% of total sleep in healthy adults.
  • As you cycle through non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, various bodily functions slow down or stop altogether. Metabolism drops by around 15% and both heart rate and blood pressure go down. 
  • Stage 3 NREM sleep or “deep sleep” is believed to be the most critical stage of sleep  for regenerating your body and brain. Deep sleep decreases across the lifespan, with one receiving less deep sleep as they age. 
  • On average, we spend about two hours per night dreaming , mostly during REM sleep.
  • On average, adults sleep on their side 54% of the time , on their back 38% of the time, and on their stomach 7%.
The sleep cycle goes through stages of light sleep, deep sleep, and active REM sleep.
The sleep cycle repeats several times throughout a singular sleep period. During each cycle, time spent in each stage of sleep shifts.

How Much We Sleep 

Are we really getting enough sleep? 

Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night. 

While the states Hawaii, Kentucky, and West Virginia reported the worst sleep, the states Colorado, Minnesota, and Vermont reported the best sleep.
  • More than one-third of adults sleep less than seven hours per night, on average.
  • Among all states, Hawaii has the highest percentage of adults (43%) who get seven or fewer hours of sleep each night. | Learn more
  • Among U.S. counties, Boulder County in Colorado has the lowest percentage of adults (23%) who get seven or fewer hours of sleep each night.

7% of adults nap every day. 

  • 81% of adults have taken a nap of 10 minutes or longer in the past three months. | Learn more
  • The average nap is about one hour.

Work and Sleep 

The link between sleep quality and work performance

Insufficient sleep has an estimated economic impact of more than $411 billion each year in the United States alone.

  • 4.8 of 10 workers say they are regularly tired during the day, and 7 of 10 say they are tired when their work day is done. | Learn more
  • Active-duty service members are 34% more likely to report insufficient sleep than people with no history of military service.
  • 55% of nurses say they experience insomnia. | Learn more 
  • Drowsy driving is responsible for more than 6,000 fatal car crashes every year in the United States.
  • One study estimates the annual cost of workplace errors and accidents linked to insomnia at $31.1 billion .

Snoring and Sleep

How often do we snore 

About 57% of men, 40% of women, and 27% of children snore in the U.S.

According to U.S. census data, over 70 million men, over 50 million women, and almost 20 million children snore.
  • Up to 70%  of snorers have been diagnosed with sleep apnea
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects around one billion adults worldwide, with 80-90% of cases going undiagnosed.
  • A 10% increase in body weight may make you six times more likely to have OSA.
  • Some 1% of adults ages 40 and older experience central sleep apnea (CSA).

Insomnia and Sleep

Why we struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep 

Up to two-thirds of adults occasionally experience insomnia symptoms 

  • 10-15% of people experience chronic insomnia, a type of insomnia that persists over multiple months 
  • Women are 40% more likely to have insomnia than men are. 
  • According to a 2020 study , 58% of a sample of post-9/11 veterans screened positive for insomnia. 
  • Up to 75% of older adults experience symptoms of insomnia. According to a 2019 study, incidences of multiple physical and psychiatric disorders are higher in older adults with insomnia than those without. 

Other Sleep Disorders

Common sleep disorders keeping us up 

According to estimates, 50 million to 70 million people have ongoing sleep disorders. The most common among them are insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy.

  • Sleep disorders affect 39% to 47% of perimenopausal women and 35% to 60% percent of postmenopausal women.
  • 76% of adults with a sleep issue or disorder share a household with at least one other person who does. 42% of people agree that sleep issues run in their family. | Learn more
  • You may exert as much as 250 pounds of force when you grind your teeth. | Learn more
Between 14% and 17% of children grind their teeth during sleep, however the prevalence decreases with age with 15% of adolescents, 8% of adults, and 3% of older adults experiencing bruxism.

  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS) affects 5% to 10% of adults and 2% to 4% of children. | Learn more
  • 1 in every 2,000 adults has narcolepsy. In the U.S., that equates to about 165,950 people.
  • People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are 37.6% more likely than others to have a sleep disorder.
  • 66% of adults say they have talked in their sleep .
  • 23% of adults say they have had a sleepwalking episode .
  • 8% of people have had an episode of sleep paralysis .

Common Sleep Disruptions 

How interrupted sleep can affect you  

Nighttime disruptions may cause sleep fragmentation and reduce time spent in the deep sleep. 

  • Noise may disrupt sleep and increase production of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, as well as increase heart rate and blood pressure .
  • 69% of men ages 40 and older and 76% of women in that age group get up to go to the bathroom at least once per night .
  • 41% of primary care patients say that they experienced night sweats at least once a month.
  • 95% of adults lose at least an hour of sleep to pain in a given week. | Learn more 
  • 63% of adults with heartburn say it has affected their ability to sleep well.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) makes women at least two times as likely to report insomnia-like symptoms before and during their period.
About 143 million women in the U.S. are affected by hot flashes. Approximately 64% of that population also experience sleep issues and insomnia.

Pregnancy and Sleep

The relationship between pregnancy and sleep 

Around 50% of people who are pregnant experience insomnia-like symptoms.

  • Sleeping on the left side with the legs slightly curled is considered the best sleeping position for pregnancy. 
  • As many as 50% of pregnant people snore, with snoring typically getting worse during the third trimester. 
  • Obstructive sleep apnea affects as many as 1 in 5 people during pregnancy.
  • Restless legs syndrome affects up to one third of people during their third trimester. 
  • Having a sleep disorder during pregnancy may increase the odds of a premature birth by 40%. | Learn more

Children and Sleep 

The importance of sleep during adolescence 

Babies spend more than half of their time sleeping.

  • Babies up to 1 year old need 12 to 16 hours of sleep each day, including naps.
  • Babies born prematurely may spend around 90% of their day asleep.
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a leading cause of death for babies younger than 1 year old.
  • More than twice as many of SIDS deaths occur among non-Hispanic Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native babies per 100,000 live births than non-Hispanic white babies.  | Learn more 

20% to 30% of children have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

Ages 1 to 2 need 11 to 14 hours of sleep.
Ages 3 to 5 need 10 to 13 hours of sleep.
Ages 6 to 12 need 9 to 12 hours of sleep.

  • According to estimates, 10% to 50% of children ages 3 to 6 have occasional nightmares .
  • Kids share a bedroom in 70% of households with two or more children. | Learn more 
  • 30.8% of parents and guardians say their school-age children are not getting enough sleep. | Learn more 
  • As many as 70% of children with ADHD have mild to severe sleeping problems .
  • Children who lose 39 minutes of sleep or more have a harder time coping at school and typically feel worse than those getting enough sleep.

For teens between the ages of 13 to 19, average total sleep per night drops by 40 to 50 minutes .

  • 58% of middle schoolers and 72% of high school students get less than the recommended amount of sleep for their age.
  • 78% of adults say getting enough sleep is more important than being successful at a video game, compared to 60% of adolescents. | Learn more 
  • Adolescents push their bedtime back by 16 minutes for every 30 minutes they spend playing video games.

Parents and Sleep 

Coping with sleep loss as a new parent

Sleep satisfaction and duration significantly decrease immediately after the birth of a child, with the effects lasting up to 6 years.  

  • New mothers are shown to lose 62 minutes of sleep on average, compared to 13 minutes for new fathers. 
  • 43% of single parents sleep less than seven hours per night, compared to 33% of adults in two-parent homes and 31% of adults with no children.
  • 36% of parents bed share with their children between the ages of 2-5.

Mental Health and Sleep

The connection between our emotional health and sleep

40% of people with insomnia may have a diagnosable mental health condition.

  • 70% of adults with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) feel tired in the winter, compared to 44% of those without it | Learn more
  • Individuals with SAD who practice light therapy during the winter are 36% less likely to experience a depressive episode.
  • 83% of adults with depression may have at least one symptom of insomnia.
  • 54% of adults say stress and anxiety were the top reasons they have trouble falling asleep. Sunday was the night of the week in which they had the most trouble falling asleep. | Learn more
  • As much as 91% of adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have symptoms of insomnia.
  • 80% of people with PTSD have nightmares within three months of experiencing trauma.
  • Wildfires can cause as much as 135 hours of lost sleep per year for adults. 77% of adults who have lost sleep to wildfires cite anxiety as the reason. | Learn more

Bedtime Rituals and Sleep

How bedtime rituals impact our sleep 

Watching TV is the top bedtime ritual among U.S. adults, with 53% of people saying they do it before bed. 

TV watching is the most commonly reported activity before bed, despite the potential consequences on sleep.
  • 50% of people who watch TV before bed get less than seven hours of sleep. | Learn more
  • 53% of adults sleep with their bedroom windows closed and 61% sleep with their door closed. | Learn more
  • 58% of adults who shower or bathe before bed say that doing so helps them sleep | Learn more
  • Adults in the U.S. spend 3 hours, 30 minutes on social media before bed every night. YouTube is the most popular social media platform used before bed, with 74% of SleepFoundation.org survey respondents using it. | Learn more

Melatonin and Sleep 

Understanding the sleep hormone 

88% of adults who take melatonin say it helps them fall asleep faster.

  • 56% of adults have consumed at least one sleep aid in the past month, 49% of adults have used melatonin, which is the most popular sleep aid. | Learn more
  • The average melatonin dosage for adults is 4.8 milligrams. 71% of adults take 5 milligrams of melatonin or less. | Learn more
  • On average, adults who take melatonin do it 211 days each year. 39% of adults take melatonin every day. 
  • Melatonin use increased 425% between 1999 and 2018 among adults.
  • 88% of melatonin products are inaccurately labeled. An analysis of melatonin supplements found that they may include 347% more melatonin per dose than what is on the label. 
  • 46% of parents report giving melatonin to their children under 13 to help them fall asleep. | Learn More

Sleep Aids and Sleep 

The prevalence and influence of sleep aids

8% of adults say they took medication to help them sleep at least four times in the past week.

  • 58% of respondents with seasonal affective disorder use sleep aids, compared to 26% of those without it, according to a SleepFoundation.org survey.
  • 79% of adults who take prescription sleep medication experience a residual effect such as oversleeping, feeling groggy, or having a hard time concentrating the next day.
  • 20% of adults use marijuana or cannabidiol (CBD) as a sleep aid.
  • 23% of adults have taken Benadryl, or diphenhydramine, as a sleep aid in the past month.
  • Sleep trackers are projected to become a $11.2 billion business by 2028 .
  • 28% of adults use a cellphone to track their sleep. These include sleep-tracker apps.

Sex and Sleep 

The effects of sleep on sex

Insomnia may be a risk factor for sexual dysfunction, with both insufficient and disrupted sleep linked to a higher risk of erectile dysfunction. 

  • Getting an extra hour of sleep for women can increase the interest in partnered sexual activity up to 14%
  • 30% of couples who started sleeping in separate beds cited their sleep habits as the reason. | Learn more
  • 8% of patients at a sleep disorders center reported experiencing symptoms of sexsomnia, also known as sleep sex. 
  • More than 70% of people report experiencing a sex dream at least once in their life. 

Your Diet and Sleep

What you eat can impact your sleep 

Diet and nutrition affect the quality of your sleep and your food choices can make it easier or harder to get the sleep you need.

  • Drinking more than two servings of alcohol per day for men and more than one serving per day for women can decrease sleep quality by 39% .
  • 51% of adults who sleep more than normal over Thanksgiving cite overeating and alcohol consumption as the reason. | Learn more
  • On average, adults snack before bedtime 3.9 nights each week. Adults who snack on seeds and nuts before bed sleep 32 minutes more, on average, than those who snack on chips, crackers, or pretzels. | Learn more
  • Eating within two hours before bed is linked to later bedtimes, trouble falling and staying asleep, and obesity.

Caffeine and Sleep

How coffee and caffeine can hurt our sleep  

Most adults can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine each day, which is roughly equivalent to four cups of coffee

  • 94% of Americans drink caffeinated beverages, with 64% drinking them every day. | Learn More 
  • 71% of SleepFoundation.org survey respondents drink coffee every day. 70% think caffeine has an impact on their sleep.
  • Top sleep issues reported by caffeine-drinkers include daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and insomnia. 30% of survey respondents reported experiencing anxiety. 
  • The half-life of caffeine, or the time required for just half of it to be eliminated from the body, is usually 4 to 6 hours, but can be anywhere from 2 to 12 hours.
  • Coffee promotes alertness and reduces tiredness by blocking adenosine receptors and preventing its sleep-promoting effects. However, once the effects wear off, people can experience sleepiness and muscle fatigue .
According to a Sleep Foundation poll, the majority of respondents drink coffee regularly and over half of those coffee-drinkers reported difficulty meeting the recommended hours of sleep.

Daylight Saving Time and Sleep

Is DST affecting our sleep?

The majority of Americans support abolishing Daylight Saving Time (DST), but legislation to make DST permanent year-round has not been enacted. While it is believed major sleep disruptions are less likely to occur when DST ends, one study found that in the week after the November time change, people experienced the following:

  • 115% increase in difficulty falling asleep
  • 103% increase in excessive daytime sleepiness
  • 64% increase in difficulty staying asleep
  • 34% increase in sleep dissatisfaction

Your environment and sleep

Optimizing Your Bedroom for Better Sleep 

Researchers have established a link between using blue light emitting devices before bed and increases in the amount of time it takes someone to fall asleep.

  • The median household has five electronic devices, and 18% of homes are hyper-connected , containing 10 or more devices.
  • 57% of teens who use technology in the bedroom, such as a television or smartphone, suffer from sleep problems. 

The best room temperature for sleep is approximately 65 degrees

  • Your core body temperature generally hovers around 98.6 degrees, but fluctuates by about 2 degrees throughout the night.
  • Infants more sensitive to changes in temperature may benefit from a bedroom that is warmer, up to 69 degrees
  • A sleeping environment that is too warm can interfere with the body’s thermoregulation and affect the time spent in different sleep stages . A cold bedroom temperature is not considered to be as detrimental to sleep quality.

Got a hot tip? Pitch us your story idea, share your expertise with SleepFoundation.org, or let us know about your sleep experiences right here.

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