Sleep Statistics
75+ Fascinating Stats About Sleep (Oct 2021)

In theory, sleep is a very simple thing: You lie down, close your eyes, and experience necessary rest and healing. In practice, however, it’s not so simple — and for some, it’s downright elusive. Even from the perspective of scientists, sleep is still relatively mysterious, which explains why we conduct countless studies and surveys about it on a yearly basis. This research not only helps us to understand sleep on a deeper level, but it also reflects sleep-related trends, preferences, and industries. When it comes to the best sleep statistics for 2021, however, there are a few additional factors that need to be accounted for. 

Needless to say, the last few years have changed everything, and that includes our sleep schedules. Many of the statistics you’ll see below have held firm throughout the years — after all, people aren’t likely to change their preferred sleeping position because of a pandemic. That said, you’ll also see how recent developments have changed people’s sleep quality and buying tendencies. Here are 75 statistics about sleep in 2021. 

Table of Contents

7 Quick Sleep Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep a night — but most don’t. 
  • Worldwide, worry/stress is the largest cause of sleep deprivation. 
  • The majority of adults (54.1%) sleep on their sides.
  • Most Americans sleep on a queen-size mattress.
  • Naps lasting 10 to 20 minutes are ideal for most adults. 
  • 22 million people in America suffer from sleep apnea.
  • The sleep economy is a booming industry, which will be valued at $95 billion by 2024.

Sleep By Demographic

Children Sleep Statistics - Newborns, Infants, & Preschoolers

1. Newborns need the most amount of sleep of any age group.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that the average newborn gets between 14 and 17 hours of sleep a day. To an adult, that might seem excessive, but it’s not; sleep is essential for brain development and growth in newborns.

2. Infants should sleep for up to 16 hours a day.

Children between 4 and 12 months old should sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day. That includes naps. (They need slightly less sleep than newborns, but not by much — their brains are still developing!)

3. Preschoolers should get up to 13 hours of sleep per every 24 hours.

This demographic includes children between 3 and 5 years of age, who should get no less than 10 hours of sleep a day. If they’re having trouble reaching that total, naps throughout the day are especially helpful. Hopefully pre-school classrooms keep their designated nap-time!

4. School-age children need up to 12 hours of sleep per day.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children between 6 and 12 years old get between 9 and 12 hours of sleep every night. If sleep-deprived, these children are at a higher risk for obesity as well as behavior and attention problems.

Teenage Sleep Statistics

5. Teenagers should get between 8-10 hours of sleep a day, but most don’t.

Those between 13 and 18 years of age need more sleep than adults. However, research shows that they often get less. On average, teenagers get 6.5 hours of sleep on weeknights, while 20% of this demographic reports getting 5 hours or less on a regular basis.

6. Sleep-deprived teenagers are at a higher risk for mental health problems.

Teenagers who slept less on a nightly basis were more likely to have anxiety and depression. Targeting these sleep difficulties, however, may positively affect their mental health. Unfortunately, most teenagers get less than the recommended amount.

College Student Sleep Statistics

7. Most college students say they don’t get enough sleep.

More than 70% of college students report that they get less than 8 hours a night. About 60% say they’re regularly groggy and dragging throughout the day. Sleep deprivation is cited as the second-most common cause of academic performance difficulties, right behind stress.

8. Young perfectionists are more likely to struggle with sleeping.

Excessive perfectionism isn’t healthy for anyone — but studies show it has a sleep-related effect on young people. Adolescents with socially prescribed perfectionism typically have difficulty sleeping. These qualities are also linked to young people who suffer from chronic pain.

Other Demographics

9. Senior citizens get the most sleep of all adult age groups.

After 65 years of age, only 26% of adults get less than 7 hours of sleep. (That’s a huge improvement when compared to the middle-aged demographic — between 45 and 64 — in which an average of 37.3% of people get less than the recommended amount.)

10. Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

If you’re between 18 and 60 years of age, you should be getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, most adults in the U.S. average less than the recommended amount. The primary cause? Stress. 

11. People on the east coast of the United States are the most sleep-deprived.

At least 35% of people in most eastern US states get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, which is the recommended amount for adults. People in the north- and mid-west get the most amount of sleep; many of these states have a short sleep duration rate of less than 31.9%.

12. Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders get the least amount of sleep.

Of all the ethnicities in the United States, those who live on islands in the Pacific get the least amount of sleep, followed by black Americans and multiracial Americans. These ethnic groups are the most likely to get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.

13. Worldwide, very few countries are getting enough sleep.

Out of 48 countries that were polled about their nightly sleep schedules, all of them averaged below 8 hours a night. Japan, Saudia Arabia, and Sweden clocked the least amount of time (about 6 hours), while New Zealand, The Netherlands, and Finland clocked the most (about 7.5 hours). 

14. Climate is more likely to affect younger sleepers.

27% of younger sleepers (aged 18 to 29) reported that they had trouble sleeping due to an uncomfortable climate. However, only 8% of people 60 years or older had this complaint. This indicates that room temperature has less of an impact on sleep quality when you’re older.

15. Men are more susceptible to media-related sleep loss.

According to a recent survey, men are much more likely to lose sleep due to media-consumption. This includes both watching sports and playing video games. 75% of men admit to losing sleep over the aforementioned activities, as opposed to 45% of women — but women are more likely to stay up late while reading.

16. On average, women sleep more than men.

Men have a 35.5% rate of short sleep duration (which means they get less than seven hours a night). Women, on the other hand, have a 34.8 rate country-wide. As a result, on average, women in the US sleep slightly more than men. 

17. Among veterans and active service members, 38% experience sleep trouble on a daily basis.

Whether it’s sleeping too much or not enough, sleep problems are the number-one most-reported daily issue among past or active military members in the United States. About 25% of them report sleep issues more than half of the time. Unfortunately, only about 10% of active military or veterans say they’re not plagued by sleep issues at all.

Covid Sleep Statistics : United States

18. People over 65 years old, however, reported minimal sleep loss due to the Coronavirus

The Coronavirus had a pretty sizable effect on most people. However, according to a recent survey we did, Americans 65 years or older reported almost no change in their quality of sleep. This is especially surprising, since this demographic is often considered the most at-risk age group.

19. The 2020 Coronavirus lockdown didn’t overwhelmingly affect sleep quality everywhere.

When asked if their sleep quality changed during the Coronavirus lockdown, all age groups in the United Kingdom primarily reported that it stayed the same. However, younger demographics (aged 18-24) were the most affected by the lockdown; 15% of them stated that it was actually beneficial for their sleep schedules.

20. But the pandemic as a whole did affect sleep latency.

Sleep latency refers to the amount of time it takes someone to go from a state of wakefulness to fully asleep. A recent survey showed that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected people’s sleep latency, though some countries were more affected than others. On average, those in Central America took the longest to fall asleep, while those in Asia were least affected.

21. During the Coronavirus, women took longer to fall asleep.

Because of the Coronavirus in America, 45% of women experienced a negative change in sleep latency (how long it takes one to fall asleep). Only 29% of men, on the other hand, found that their sleep latency was affected by the pandemic.

Sleep Deprivation Statistics : Sleep Quality & Hygiene

22. Binge-watching TV is a major source of sleep deprivation.

Having trouble falling asleep? Turn off the TV. A recent survey showed that 44% of people pull at least one all-nighter every year because they’re binge-watching their favorite streaming service. Some even admit that it happens over once a month, on average. 

23. On average, sleep quality is on its way down.

In 1910, the average person got a whopping 9 hours of sleep every night. Now, the American adult gets an average of 6.8 hours. About 20% of Americans now have a sleep disorder, as well.

24. About 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep.

Experts recommend that people between 18 and 80 years old should get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. However, roughly 35% of adults are currently getting less than the recommended amount — that’s one-third of the whole country.

25. Worldwide, worry/stress is the largest source of sleep deprivation.

54% of people worldwide said their sleep quality is most affected by worry or stress. This ranked much higher than other lifestyle factors, including: sleep environment, work/school schedule, entertainment, and health conditions.

26. Most people don’t sleep through the night.

A recent survey showed that the majority of people don’t sleep through the night. Rather, 67% of adults report that they wake up at least once — sometimes more. These numbers reflect multiple countries worldwide.

27. Some people have a gene mutation that allows them to function on less sleep.

In 2009, neurology professor Ying-Hui Fu, PhD, discovered a mutation in the gene DEC2. This mutation helps someone stay awake longer and function on less sleep (between 4 to 6 hours). That said, only 3% of people have it, so most people should be planning for at least 7 hours a night.

28. But the pandemic as a whole did affect sleep latency.

Sleep latency refers to the amount of time it takes someone to go from a state of wakefulness to fully asleep. A recent survey showed that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected people’s sleep latency, though some countries were more affected than others. On average, those in Central America took the longest to fall asleep, while those in Asia were least affected.

29. Americans prioritize most activities over sleep.

According to a recent survey, fitness and nutrition, work, and hobbies all ranked as higher priorities when compared to sleep. In fact, only 10% of Americans prioritized sleeping over all else. (Social life, 9%, was the only activity that ranked lower.)

30. Cooler room temperatures result in better sleep quality.

Because your body’s internal temperature drops in preparation for rest, a cooler room might improve sleep quality. Experts recommend a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Younger sleepers are most likely to feel these effects.

31. Most people use medical cannabis to improve their sleep quality.

Out of all the reasons patients use medical cannabis, trouble sleeping is the most common among those in Canada. In fact, 61% of users say they do it solely to improve their sleep quality. (General stress and chronic physical pain are also common reasons.)

32. Most people have a consistent bedtime routine.

According to sleep hygiene experts, a consistent routine is key to improving your overall sleep quality. (This typically involves reading, taking a warm bath, readjusting the lights, going to bed at the same time every night, etc..) Luckily, a recent survey said that 59% of adults worldwide adhere to a consistent bedtime routine.

Sleep Stage Statistics

33. Naps lasting 10 to 20 minutes are ideal for most adults.

Too short, and you won’t move through any beneficial sleep stages. Too long, and you’ll enter deep, slow-wave sleep, which will leave you feeling groggy afterwards. A 10- to 20-minute “power nap” provides recovery benefits without resetting your sleep rhythm.

34. The average person has 4 to 6 sleep cycles per night.

There are four sleep stages in total (NREM 1, NREM 2, NREM, 3, and REM). The average adult cycles through each of them up to 6 times per sleep period. Those with certain sleep disorders, however, experience these sleep cycles in irregular ways.

35. Infants experience more REM sleep than adults.

The average infant’s sleep schedule is comprised of about 50% REM sleep, as opposed to about 20% for adults. That’s because REM sleep is thought to play an essential role in learning and memory function. (Infants also sleep far more than adults.)

36. Most people dream for a total of about two hours a night.

Dreams can happen during any sleep stage, but they’re usually the most vivid during REM sleep. Even if they don’t usually remember them, most adults spend up to 120 minutes per night dreaming.

Sleep Positions & Preferences

37. About 54% of people sleep on their sides.

Whether they’re stretched out or in fetal position, this is most people’s preferred sleep position. Some people report that it reduces snoring and may help with back issues. It’s also great for digestion and heartburn.

38. Precisely 37.5% of people sleep on their backs.

This is supposedly the healthiest sleeping position; it improves spine health and minimizes hip and knee pain. That said, it’s only the second-most popular sleeping position, according to a Danish study.

39. Finally, 7.3% of people sleep on their stomachs.

This is the least popular of all sleep positions, and that’s probably for the best. Experts report that stomach-sleeping puts additional strain on your muscles and often results in a misaligned spine, which may cause neck or back pain.

40. The older someone gets, the more likely they are to sleep on their side.

Studies report that children often shift between their backs, stomachs, and sides throughout the night. That said, as they approach adulthood, they switch positions less frequently and tend to sleep predominantly on their sides. Side-sleeping is the preferred position among adults.

41. Females tend to switch positions less frequently during the night.

On average, adults switch sleeping positions 1.6 times per hour, but males are more likely to shift throughout the night. This includes the overall position as well as arm and leg movements. As a result, women are more likely to remain in one position for longer.

42. About 29% of people report that they sleep naked.

Most people sleep naked because it’s more comfortable or it helps them stay cool. However, not all of them sleep naked every single day; only 16.3% of people always sleep without clothes, while others just do it on a weekly or monthly basis.

43. One-third of American adults take naps on the regular.

34% of all adults in the United States say they take naps often or daily. Men are more likely to nap than women. The prevalence of naps also increases with age — more than half of people nap regularly after they turn 80.

44. About half of Americans sleep on a queen-size mattress.

Queen mattresses (60 by 80 inches) are by far the most popular size mattress. They comfortably accommodate a couple without taking up too much room, which is why about half of all American adults sleep on one. Full- and king-size mattresses are the next most popular options.

45. Most people prefer complete silence when falling asleep.

In a recent survey, 29% of people said they prefer complete silence when falling asleep — the largest percentage of all the possible responses. 18% of people said they neither agree nor disagree, while only 14% of people said they “strongly disagreed” that complete silence produces the best sleeping environment.

46. A few years ago, spring mattresses were the most popular mattress type.

There are countless types of mattresses, including spring, hybrid, memory foam, and latex. In 2017, a survey showed that most adults (32%) slept on a spring mattress. However, that’s quickly changing, as the memory foam industry is on the rise.

47. Most buyers prefer a sustainable mattress.

Sustainability prioritizes natural resources and ecological balance. In the Netherlands, over 70% of respondents said they’d prefer a sustainable mattress, even if it meant paying more for one. In fact, most people were willing to pay between 5 and 10% more for sustainability, but only 2% of people were willing to pay more than 20%.

48. The majority of people sleep worse when they’re not in their own bed.

If you have trouble sleeping in hotel rooms and on friends’ guest beds, you’re not alone. More than half of respondents — 58% — reported that they slept worse when they weren’t at home. Apparently, a familiar environment is more conducive to a better night’s sleep.

49. Most people (64%) switch up their sleep routine on the weekends.

An overwhelming majority of adults say that their weekend sleep schedule is different than their weekday one. According to experts, however, this isn’t ideal; adhering to the same bedtime every night is much better for your sleep hygiene.

50. Most people prefer to watch comedy shows before bed.

Binge-watching from bed is on the rise, but which genres are the most popular? Apparently, over 57% of Americans prefer to watch comedy before bed. Adventure, drama, and documentaries aren’t far behind.

51. Sleep is the go-to technique for headache-relief.

Prone to headaches? When asked their go-to techniques for relieving head pain, between 54 and 61% of people in all different age groups reported that they use sleep above all else. Other popular techniques were stress reduction, medical treatment, and a dark room. 

Sleep Disorder Statistics

Sleep Apnea Statistics

52. 22 million people in America suffer from sleep apnea.

During sleep apnea, breathing is abnormal and repeatedly starts and stops. An overwhelming majority (80%) are undiagnosed, even though they’re experiencing moderate to severe symptoms. When left untreated, it can create a host of health issues, including high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular problems.

53. Sleep apnea is much rarer in children — but it still exists.

While it’s much more common in adults, roughly 2% to 3% of children are thought to have sleep apnea. Within this younger age demographic, the most common cause is enlarged tonsils.

Insomnia Sleep Statistics

54. Up to 35% of people experience occasional symptoms of insomnia.

About one third of people are unable to sleep on an occasional basis. A lower percentage (between 15 to 25%) have a short-term insomnia disorder that may last three months or less. A specialist may be able to help.

55. Roughly 10% of people have chronic insomnia.

This means they find it extremely challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep. Chronic insomnia may be primary (due to changes in brain chemicals) or secondary (due to external circumstances or medical issues). Either way, it may result in serious health problems or a decrease in your quality of life.

Narcolepsy Sleep Statistics

56. In the United States, narcolepsy affects about 1 in every 2,000 people.

That’s roughly 200,000 people in this country. The symptoms involve daytime sleepiness and sudden episodes of falling asleep. They typically begin to appear between the ages of 15 and 25.

57. Most people with narcolepsy are undiagnosed.

Only about 25% of people with narcolepsy have been diagnosed and are treating it. That’s because a large number of people with this sleep issue have been misdiagnosed with psychiatric disorders.

Sleep Paralysis Statistics

58. Only 7.6% of the population has experienced sleep paralysis.

During sleep paralysis, you’re unable to move or speak, even though you’re “awake” and your eyes are open. Some people also experience hallucinations. This happens because your brain is still in REM sleep, despite the fact that you’ve technically woken up.

59. Sleep paralysis is more common among those with panic disorders.

Some people experience sleep paralysis once and never again. However, among psychiatric patients with panic disorders, 34.6% of them experience ongoing or lifetime sleep paralysis. It’s also more common among those with narcolepsy and sleep apnea. 

Other

60. Commuting accidents are more common than workplace accidents.

A good night’s sleep keeps you much safer behind the wheel. When sleep-deprived, workers are more likely to have an accident commuting to and from work than they are while physically at the workplace. In general, as nightly hours of sleep decrease, the likelihood of a commuting accident increases.

61. The average person's snoring is between 50 and 65 decibels.

Some snoring is definitely louder than others. If it’s super loud, it might be indicative of a bigger issue. However, “normal” snoring is under 65 decibels — about as loud as everyday conversation, a sewing machine, or a typewriter.

62. About 57% of men and 40% of women snore on a regular basis.

This noise is caused by the rattling of tissues as air passes through the back of the throat. Snoring can be light and unobtrusive, or it can be indicative of a much larger health, sleep, or breathing disorder (like sleep apnea).

63. As sleep duration decreases, the likelihood of chronic health conditions increases.

Those who get less than 7 hours of sleep per night are significantly more likely to experience chronic health conditions. The most common include heart attacks, strokes, asthma, depression, arthritis, and diabetes.

64. About 31% of people are disturbed by their pets at night.

Some people find their pet’s presence to be calming — which is why they let them sleep in bed with them. However, 31% of people said that they definitely don’t sleep better alongside their cat or dog. In fact, it’s more of a disturbance than anything else. 

The Sleep Industry

65. The white noise machine industry is expected to surge from 2021 on.

White noise machines produce an ongoing, relaxing audio (typically nature or fan sounds) that’s designed to cover up any disturbing external noises. People — especially light sleepers — say they really do help to improve their sleep quality, so it’s no wonder sales are skyrocketing.

66. The memory foam industry is on the rise.

In 2018, the memory foam industry (both for mattresses and pillows) was valued at 5.2 billion U.S. dollars. Its value is expected to rise even further through 2023. Some think they’ll soon replace innerspring mattresses as the most popular option.

67. Despite the recent economic dip, smart mattress sales are expected to recover.

Smart mattresses automatically monitor and respond to your sleep habits — so needless to say, they’re not cheap. This industry felt the impact of the global market crisis last year, but it’s expected to reach 1140 million dollars by 2024.

68. Over-the-counter sleep-aid sales are skyrocketing.

In 2011, 37 million people in the United States purchased an over-the-counter sleep aid. Last year, that number reached 58 million. This indicates that more and more people each year rely on a sleep aid to get some shut-eye.

69. Similarly, melatonin supplement sales are also on the rise.

This hormone is naturally found in the body and helps to regulate your sleep schedule, but many people supplement with it (in pill or gummy form) in order to help them fall asleep. This industry exceeded a billion dollars in 2019 and is still on the rise.

70. Younger people are more likely to use sleep-tracking apps.

People between the ages of 18 and 45 are most likely to use an app to track their sleep, either on a regular or an occasional basis. However, those over the age of 61 are most likely to say that they could imagine implementing one into their sleep hygiene routine. 

71. People in China are most likely to use a health tracking app.

Health tracking apps (which also commonly track sleep quality) are gaining popularity all over. That said, with a total app usage of 65%, they’re most popular in China. American Citizens have a 44% total app usage, while the UK has a 39% usage rate. 

72. The United States has the largest mattress industry worldwide.

When compared to the rest of the world, America generates the most revenue from the mattresses industry — $13,751 million in 2021. Still, Europe is catching up; their market is expected to grow by 3.55% every year.

73. Tempur-Pedic is the most loved mattress company in the United States.

A recent survey asked people about their customer satisfaction rates regarding leading mattress companies. The winner? Tempur-Pedic. They had a customer satisfaction score of 881 out of 1,000.

74. However, Purple is the most popular bed-in-a-box retailer.

The bed-in-a-box movement is still gaining steam, but some brands are more popular than others. While Tempur-Pedic was voted the most popular standard mattress, Purple was named the leading bed-in-a-box company. Out of a possible score of 1,000, this brand earned a score of 875 in terms of customer satisfaction.

75. Lingerie and sleepwear is an ever-growing industry.

According to quarterly retail sales statistics from Canada, women’s lingerie and sleepwear sales are increasing just about every year. In fact, they’ve been steadily climbing since 2014. Sales are typically at their lowest in the first quarter of each year.

76. The sleep economy is a booming industry, which will be valued at $95 billion by 2024.

Made up of all products, applications, and services related to sleep quality, the sleep economy is a massive industry. In 2019, it was valued at 79 billion. By 2024, the projected value is 95 billion US dollars.

FAQ and Sleeping Tips

What is REM sleep?

REM (rapid eye movement) is one of four sleep stages. It usually happens about 90 minutes after you fall asleep and lasts 10 minutes. Your brain is typically the most active during this period and experiences vivid dreaming, while your limbs remain paralyzed to avoid acting your dreams out. REM is thought to play an essential role in learning. 

What is sleep hygiene? 

Sleep hygiene is a set of habits that you implement in order to improve your quality of sleep. It may involve optimizing your sleep environment, sticking to a regular before-bed routine, minimizing usage of electronic devices, or changing your diet and fitness schedule. Either way, experts recommend implementing a regular sleep hygiene practice, especially if you have trouble falling asleep at night. 

What is the best sleep environment?

The best sleeping environment will differ from person to person. However, experts recommend a cooler environment because your body temperature drops before sleep. You’re also more likely to sleep soundly if your room is familiar, comfortable, and quiet. 

What is sleep apnea? 

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing stops for extended periods of time while you’re asleep. These temporary lapses limit the body’s oxygen intake, which may have serious health impacts. Unfortunately, many cases go undiagnosed. 

Recommended:  How to Sleep Through the Night: 18 Proven Sleep Tips

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