Study: Most Americans Need More Sleep

    29 April 2024

    Less than half of Americans say they are getting enough sleep, according to a recent opinion study by the Gallup organization.

    The poll found that 57 percent of Americans say they would feel better if they could get more sleep. Only 42 percent say they are getting as much sleep as they need.

    Gallup carried out the same kind of study in 2013. That time, the results were different. Fifty-six percent said they got enough sleep, while 43 percent said they did not get enough sleep.

    FILE - A traveler takes a nap as he waits for a ride outside Miami International Airport, Friday, July 1, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
    FILE - A traveler takes a nap as he waits for a ride outside Miami International Airport, Friday, July 1, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

    Women under the age of 50 were the most likely to report they are not getting enough rest. Only 27 percent of women in that group said they usually get all the sleep they need.

    The poll also asked people to report how many hours of sleep they usually get each night. Only 26 percent said they got eight or more hours. Many sleep experts say adults should aim for eight hours of sleep a night.

    Just over half of the respondents reported getting between six and seven hours of sleep a night. And 20 percent said they got five hours or less. That number increased from 2013, when 14 percent of respondents reported getting five hours or less.

    Justine Broughal is a self-employed event planner with two small children. She is 31 years old. Her 4-month-old son still wakes up throughout the night. After her 3-year-old daughter goes to bed, she still needs to do some work in the house. That makes it difficult for her to get the sleep she needs.

    "I really treasure being able to spend time with (my children)," Broughal says. However, she added that it can reduce the amount of time for her to rest and take care of herself.

    Claude Fischer is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. He said that American culture has valued hard work and productivity since the first European immigrants arrived. He added that the religious beliefs of some groups connected hard work with approval from God.

    Working hard, he said, "has been a core part of American culture for centuries."

    Late-night relaxing

    Some Americans also say their busy workdays make them want to stay up late. After a long day of work, spending time at night on social media or watching television can help them lower stress or have some time to themselves. But this reduces the number of hours they can sleep.

    Liz Meshel has experienced this. The 30-year-old American is temporarily living and doing research in Bulgaria. But she also works a part-time job on U.S. hours to help pay her bills. That means she sometimes works until 10 at night local time.

    When it is close to her bedtime, she said she thinks about the time she did not have for herself during the day. So, she decides to watch television and look at social media instead of getting to sleep earlier.

    That, Meshel said, "will always make the problem worse."

    I'm Andrew Smith.

    Deepti Hajela and Linley Sanders wrote this story for The Associated Press. Andrew Smith adapted it for VOA Learning English.


    Words in This Story

    respondent -n. a person who answers one or more questions

    treasure -v. to value highly

    sociology -n. the study of society or the way it is organized

    core -n. the center or most important part of something