Sleep is highly essential to ensure and maintain overall health and wellness. It is vastly dependent on healthy sleep cycles and the number of recommended hours we spend sleeping each night.
According to various studies, sleep statistics and sleep facts; however, the number of hours spent sleeping has drastically reduced, and sleep patterns and habits have changed in parallel over the past few decades. Poor sleep quality, wakefulness, and other sleep-related issues are the cause of changing lifestyle, work patterns, behavior, and habits. This, along with emerging technologies and connected devices, inclining stress levels, underlying health conditions and diseases, and a range of other factors are giving rise to further cause for immediate concern.
Sleep loss and deprivation is not only associated with adults or elderly individuals and has recently been recognized as a “public health epidemic.”
Sleep Stats and Facts: Table of Contents
General Sleep Statistics
Sleep Needs by Demographic
|Demographic||Recommended Hours of Sleep Per Night|
|Child (6–12 Years)||9–12 Hours|
|Child (3–5 Years)||10–13 Hours (naps included)|
|Child (1–2 Years)||11–14 Hours (naps included)|
|Infants 4–12 Months||12–16 Hours (naps included)|
Natural Sleep Cycle: Sleep Type, Stages, and Sleep Percentage
|Stages||Type of Sleep||Distinct Sleep Stages|
|Stage 1||Wake||Non-REM (NREM) sleep – 5% of total sleep|
|Stage 2||Light Sleep||NREM sleep – 50% of total sleep|
|Stage 3||Deep Sleep||Deep, restorative forms of sleep – 20% of total sleep|
|Stage 4||*REM||REM sleep – 25% of total sleep|
|Repeat||Light Sleep, Deep Sleep, REM|
*REM sleep occurs around 90 minutes after falling asleep and lasts for 90–120 minutes.
Hours for Typical Human Activities
Humans spend an average number of hours each day for specific and typical household tasks and chores. Time for sleeping exceeds the time allotted for work-related activities, and hours allotted for sport and leisure activities follow these, but not closely in terms of time.
Age, Gender, and Hours Spent Sleeping
Average Time Spent Sleeping By Age and Gender
Most Sleepy Countries
New Zealanders top the list of most average time spent sleeping each night among other major countries in the world, followed by the Netherlands, Finland, and the UK. Japan is last in the list, with less than 6 hours in terms of average time spent sleeping each night.
Sleep Deprivation Statistics
Less than Average Sleep by Country
Individuals in the UK to sleep a lot more than counterparts in developing economies such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and the difference is significantly vast, which can be attributed to differences in economy, practices, and habits, as well as standards of living of citizens of both these countries.
- The highest prevalence of sleep problems among the countries analyzed rests with Bangladesh, with a 44% rate for women – almost 2X the rate of developed countries – and significantly much higher than 22.8% in men.
- The prevalence rate in Vietnam is 37% for women and 28% for men.
- The low sleep prevalence rate in South Africa is over two-times higher than other African countries, with 31% for women and 27% for men.
- The low sleep prevalence rate in India is 6.6% for women and 4.2% for Indian men.
- Indonesia reported a 3.6% low sleep prevalence rate in men and 4.5% in women.
Weekend Sleeping by Country (%)
A vast number of individuals (primarily in developing and lower income economies) work long hours during weekdays and reserve a significant part of the weekends to compensate for sleep debt accumulated on workdays or during the week.
Technology and Sleep Statistics
Increasing the use of technology and connected devices during the day and close to bedtime disrupt circadian rhythms, decrease the amount of REM sleep, keep the brain and thought process active into the night, and interrupt sleep patterns.
- The bright blue light emitted by mobile phones, tablets, digital devices, computers, and televisions suppresses the release of sleep hormone. ‘melatonin’ a mere 1.5 hours after such devices are used in the evening.
- The same study has shown that the natural body clock can be delayed by 1.5 hours following 5 nights of exposure to bright lights from mobile devices.
- According to a recent study, 5.9 hours is spent by the average adult user on technology and digital media and content, including accessing such platforms on smartphones, desktops, laptops, and other connected devices, including over-the-top (OTT) streaming devices and gaming consoles.
- It is advised to power down or discontinue screen use or device usage at least 2 hours before attempting to sleep.
Sleep Aids Statistics
Some traditional sedating benzodiazepine and atypical benzodiazepine sleep aids include Ambien CR, Lunesta, and Restoril. Silenor and Belsomra are non-habit-forming options. Prescription drugs for treating chronic diseases and medications for high blood pressure and asthma can result in all-night wakefulness or insomnia. Medication for treating cough, cold, and flu can disrupt normal nighttime sleep, while certain medications, such as antihistamines, can cause daytime drowsiness.
- Around 4% of US adults aged 20 years and older used prescription sleep pills last month.
- According to various surveys, women are more likely to opt for sleeping pills to sleep fitfully.
- According to a national survey conducted by Consumer Reports in 2015, around 18% of participants reported taking sleep medications daily, and 41% had been using these medications for a year or more.
Food Habits and Sleep Statistics
Meals and food consumed close to bedtime play a vital role in hours slept and sleep quality. A balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, vitamin B-rich, low-fat protein fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy aids in better sleep quality. B vitamins can help to regulate melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates sleep cycles.
- Foods such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower), red meat, tomato sauce, cured meats and cheeses, dark chocolate, coffee, tea, alcohol, soda, orange juice, and overconsumption of water can affect sleep.
- Consumption of fried food, tomato, spices, and salad vegetables affects some individuals’ sleep quality.
- Consumption of foods such as almonds, walnuts, turkey, Chamomile tea, kiwi fruit, tart cherry juice, fatty fish, passionflower tea, white rice, bananas, oatmeal, and warm milk are known to promote good sleep.
- Around 60% of OSA patients experience Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
- GERD is among some of the leading causes of disturbed sleep among adults between the 45 and 64 years of age.
- According to a Gallup survey, 79% of individuals suffering from heartburn reported nocturnal symptoms on a weekly basis.
- Among the 79%, approximately 63% reported that the mentioned symptoms affected the ability to sleep.
- Fast food consumers are 51% more likely to develop depression than individuals who eat little to no fast food, and depression is a major factor attributed to affecting the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Physical Activity Facts and Sleep
Results of recent indicate that individuals who exercise regularly reported a decrease in sleep complaints and insomnia conditions. Aerobic exercise has been showing that it may have effects similar to that of taking sleeping pills.
- Individuals who engaged in 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise reported a positive difference in night sleep quality the day they exercised compared to days they did not.
- Completing around 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week, or 30 minutes on 5 days of the week, helps the body get accustomed to a routine and aids in better sleep.
- Investing around 10 minutes a day in walking, swimming, or biking is also known to improve and promote sleep quality.
- Individuals who exercised for around 150 minutes (5 days in the week) reported feeling significantly better and more alert during the daytime.
- According to a nationally representative sample result of around 2,600 men and women (ages 18–85 years), 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week improved sleep quality by 65%.
- Results also showed that individuals who exercised were 68% less likely to suffer from leg cramps while sleeping.
Comfort and Sleep Facts and Statistics
Sleep quality and experience is dependent on the type of bed one sleeps on. A comfortable mattress is firm enough to provide support but soft enough to provide a feeling of being suspended and weightless while promoting the body’s urge to release muscle tightness and rigidity and enable the spine to remain aligned.
- Human beings spend approximately 1/3rd of life in bed.
- Sleeping position is another important factor to good sleep, and the fetal position ranks highest, with 41% of adults rating it highly preferred.
- Lying on the side was reported as most preferred among 28% of adults, lying on the back among 8%, and 7% preferred lying on the stomach.
- Innerspring or pillow-top mattresses are most popular among US users, with preference being as high as 49%.
- Ideally, a mattress should be changed every 6 to 8 years if used under normal conditions.
- A user’s spine can fall out of alignment for most of the night if a mattress is excessively soft and could exert pressure on the hips, resulting in lower back pain if the mattress is too firm.
- Chronic back pain is widely reported among working as well as non-working individuals worldwide, and chronic back pain reportedly affects between 55.0% and 90.0% of the global adult population.
- Various studies on participants show that back pain can be reduced by 47%, and sleep quality improved by 56% by sleeping on a new mattress.
Some Simple and Serious Sleep Facts and Effects
- Humans are the only mammals capable of voluntarily delaying sleep.
- The average person takes between 1 and 10 minutes to fall asleep.
- The recommended sleep norm in 1942 was 8 hours per night, and the current recommended number of hours per night is 7–9 hours.
- Over half (51%) of adults globally report getting less than the required sleep on an average night.
- Around 80% of workers globally take 7 days off from work to catch up on lost sleep.
- Sleeping on your back has proven to be the ideal position for health reasons, as it enables the body, back, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral position.
- Individuals who get 5 to 6 hours of sleep each night are 4.2X more likely to get ill or suffer from chronic diseases such as asthma, cancer, and diabetes over time compared to those who sleep 7 hours or more.
- According to NASA, the perfect nap lasts for approximately 25 to 26 minutes.
- One in 4 married couples opt to sleep in separate beds.
- Some of the most successful people in terms of careers in the world happen to be ‘morning people.’
- During REM sleep, the brain’s chemicals paralyze the muscles to stop the sleeper from acting out their dreams.
- The most prominent sleeping position among Gen-X and millennials happens to be the ‘Freefall’ position (arms and legs outstretched)
- Over 8% of Americans prefer to sleep naked or in the buff.
- Newborn babies experience twice as much REM sleep than adults.
- Drinking coffee before bed delays the internal body clock by up to 40 minutes.
- Studies indicate that procrastinators are more likely to have sleep challenges.
- Experts advise getting out of bed as soon as waking up because simply lying in bed leads the brain to linking being awake to being in bed and vice-versa.
Sleep and Emotional Quotient
There is an area in the brain known as the amygdala. Research on this area has shown that sleep deprivation increases activity in the human brain’s emotional rapid response center. This is the part of the brain that controls several immediate emotional reactions. Sleeping too little sends the amygdala into overdrive, resulting in the individual being more intensely reactive to situations. Less than the recommended number of hours of sleep leave an individual reporting various feelings.
We may not know it, but besides dreaming, many biological processes occur while we are asleep.
- The brain stores newly-gained information and clears out toxic waste.
- Nerve cells communicate and reorganize, and this supports healthy brain function.
- Cells in the body are repaired, energy restored, and molecules such as hormones and proteins are released.
- Sleep study subjects were able to pick out complex sound patterns they had heard while asleep, and research has shown that learning abilities while asleep could extend to the learning of words.
- An individual spends an average of 6 years dreaming in their typical lifetime.
- Around 12% of individuals dream entirely in black and white.
- Over 75% of individuals had entirely black and white dreams before the advent of color televisions.
- Most part of a dream (50%) is forgotten within 5 minutes of waking up.
- Only around 10% of dream recollection remains after an additional 5 minutes.
- Around 65% of dreams include episodes related to sadness and anger, and happiness and excitement make up 20% of our dreams.
- Around 70% of men have dreams in which other men are featured, and women dream about men and other women in an equal ratio.
Interesting Sleep Facts
- Exercising for 30 minutes each day can result in gaining 15 minutes of additional sleep per night.
- Experiencing violent dreams regularly could indicate the sign of a brain disorder or dementia.
- Individuals suffering with depression dream up to 3 to 4 times more than unaffected individuals do.
- Missing out on one night’s sleep affects the brain in the same way as being drunk from alcohol consumption.
- Sleep deprivation has been known to kill more quickly than food deprivation.
- Sleep deprivation reduces an individual’s tolerance for pain to a significant extent.
- The record for the longest period without sleep is 11 days, but the record holder reported moderate to severe sleep-related issues thereafter.
- REM sleep was discovered approximately 65 years ago by sleep study pioneer ‘Eugene Aserinsky’, and strangely enough, the discovery entailed the researcher spending hours studying the eyelids of sleeping subjects.
- The brain is as active during REM sleep as it is when the person is awake.
- Sleeping with a heavy blanket helps individuals with insomnia or anxiety to sleep better.
- Convincing the brain into thinking you slept well, even if this is not the case, has shown improved sleep quality thereafter.
- Recent studies have indicated that ‘gamers’ are more likely to control their dreams.
Parenthood and Sleep Statistics and Facts
Teenagers and Sleep Statistics
Most teenagers are overly active during the day and expend a significant amount of energy. However, sleep deprivation and sleep debt are currently a major concern, with emerging technologies and connected devices largely to blame for poor school grades and increasing health concerns related to sleep deprivation.
- Teens aged between 13 and 17 years typically need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night.
- Regular sleepiness is experienced by up to 40% of healthy and growing teenagers, and the tendency of these individuals to fall asleep easily is considered normal.
- Getting 34 minutes of additional sleep has resulted in teenagers scoring between 4.0% to 4.5% higher in test papers.
- Losing sleep has a significant effect on teenagers and emotions, and moods. Each hour of sleep lost at night results in a 38% chance of increasing sadness, hopelessness, or causing suicidal thoughts.
- Avoiding mobile phone usage 1 hour before bedtime can result in an additional 21 minutes of sleep per night, which adds up to 105 minutes extra per week.
Women, Children, and Sleep
- Middle-aged women are recommended to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night.
- Parents lose around 1,045 hours of sleep because of their infants.
- New parents forfeit an average of 42 days of sleep/year due to their newborns.
- For each child in a household, the mother’s chance of getting insufficient sleep increases by 46%.
- Breast-feeding mothers get more sleep in a 24-hour period than mothers that do not.
- Between 2 and 4% of middle-aged women report suffering from apnea.
- Approximately 80% of women experience insomnia during pregnancy.
- Globally, it is estimated that 30–40% of children are not able to get sufficient sleep currently.
Simple Tips for Better Sleep
- Yoga has proven to aid in sleep-related challenges.
- Meditation also improves sleep and mental calmness.
- Relaxing and gentle classical music aids in falling asleep.
- Creating and maintaining a sleep schedule helps.
- Ensure proper diet or meal is maintained, and do not eat too little or much before bedtime.
- Restrict or avoid daytime naps. Naps should be limited to 30 minutes or less.
- Indulge in physical activity in daily routine.
- Manage stress and overcome potential worries before retiring to bed.
- An additional 60 to 90 minutes of sleep per night has been proving to be beneficial with regard to improving emotional levels and health and wellness.
- Avoid consuming stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine before bed.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime, as though it may help fall asleep; it more often leads to disrupted sleep after the body processes the alcohol.
- Avoid eating close to bedtime, especially those foods that are known to cause you indigestion.
- Exposure to natural light on a daily basis – either through sunshine or light therapy – aids significantly in alleviating sleep issues.
- Develop and maintain consistency with regard to bedtime, which aids in the onset of sleepiness.
- Try to limit access to brightness and light late at night.
- Night shift workers can invest in blackout curtains or sleep mask if sleep hours are during mornings and afternoons.
Sleep Statistics and Facts: Conclusion
Sleep is highly essential for a mentally, physically, emotionally, and satisfactory existence. Sufficient and healthy sleep does wonders in day-to-day life and wellness and ensures and promotes a better quality of life and health.
Insufficient sleep increases the risks of developing serious medical conditions, and over a period of time, is believed to reduce or shorten or reduce a person’s lifespan. Unhealthy lifestyle habits and patterns, stress and worry, environmental conditions, and related circumstances, as well as underlying diseases and conditions, contribute significantly to poor sleep and quality of life.
Developing and maintaining good sleep habits and making crucial lifestyle changes, including focusing on a healthy diet and exercise and activity, has been known to improve overall health and wellness. Dependence on medicines – including sleeping pills – alcohol and other substances should be reduced to begin to emerge from unhealthy lifestyle choices and patterns. Indulging in relaxation techniques can be beneficial for a good night’s sleep. Avoiding caffeine, heavy meals, and strenuous exercise in the hours before bedtime and creating a quiet, cool, and dark ambience in the bedroom promote the urge to fall asleep. Avoiding television, technology, and mobile phones and games at least half-an-hour before attempting to settle down to sleep can hasten the process.
Addressing sleep-related issues early on can provide positive results in the long run. Discussing with a healthcare provider when exploring or considering medication or complementary health approaches for sleep problems can help to reach a positive goal.
Contents, data, and information presented in this article is solely to provide a general outlook about sleep statistics and sleep facts, which are based on the results of expert studies, research, and surveys conducted by competent bodies, researchers, and organizations in the target field.