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Sleep statistics 2021

How much sleep should you get? | What is a sleep disorder? | How common are sleep disorders? | Sleep stats by sex | Sleep stats by age | Sleep aid statistics | Sleep and overall health | Costs | Causes of sleep disorders | Treatment | FAQs | Research

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. During sleep, the body can rest and recover for a new day. Not getting enough sleep because of a sleep disorder can negatively impact your health, happiness, and longevity. Let’s take a look at some recent sleep statistics to better understand sleep disorders and how they affect overall health.  

How much sleep should you get?

Not getting enough sleep can be bad for your physical and mental health and cause some unwelcome symptoms. Not meeting your sleep needs can cause a lack of energy, trouble remembering things, a reduced attention span, slowed thinking, a reduced sex drive, poor decision making, irritability, daytime sleepiness, and other mood changes.

The exact amount of sleep you need will depend on your age, but in general, children need more sleep than adults to support their growth and development. Here’s a helpful guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the recommended amount of sleep that someone should get based on their age: 

Sleep requirements by age

Age  Hours of sleep needed
0-3 months  14-17
4-11 months  12-16
1-2 years old  11-14 
3-5 years old  10-13 
6-12 years old  9-12
13-18 years old  8-10
18-64 years old  7-9
65+ 7-8

What is a sleep disorder?

Not getting good sleep on a regular basis may be a sign that you have a sleep disorder. A sleep disorder is a condition that causes chronic sleep deprivation and negatively impacts a person’s quality of life. “Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that are characterized by either poor quality or quantity of sleep,” says Abhinav Singh, MD, the medical director of the Indiana Sleep Center. “In some instances, this can include poor quality of wakefulness that interferes with optimal daytime functioning.”  

A healthcare professional can diagnose someone with a sleep disorder if they have certain symptoms such as difficulty sleeping at night and excessive sleepiness in the daytime. “After a thorough clinical evaluation by your physician, which typically involves a detailed history of presenting complaints, sleep logs, and possibly sleep studies, the diagnosis can be generally obtained,” says Dr. Singh. There are seven categories of sleep disorders listed in the Third Edition of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders:   

  1. Insomnia, especially chronic insomnia.
  2. Sleep-related breathing disorders, such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
  3. Central disorders of hypersomnolence, such as narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia.
  4. Circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, including jet lag and delayed sleep-wake phase disorder.
  5. Parasomnias, such as sleepwalking, rapid eye movement (REM) behavior disorder, and sleep paralysis.
  6. Sleep-related movement disorders, like restless leg syndrome.
  7. Other sleep disorders.

How common are sleep disorders? 

  • 30% of survey respondents have been reportedly diagnosed with a sleep disorder (SingleCare, 2021).
  • 50 to 70 million adults in the U.S. are affected by a sleep disorder (American Sleep Association [ASA], 2021). 
  • 25 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea (ASA, 2021). 
  • Every year, 30% to 40% of adults in the U.S. report symptoms of insomnia at some point annually (American Journal of Managed Care, 2020). 

Sleep statistics worldwide

  • More than 20% of the general adult population in the U.S. and Canada have reported experiencing insomnia (Sleep Research Society, 2012). 
  • 62% of adults around the world say they don’t sleep as well as they’d like (Philips Global Sleep Survey, 2019). 
  • As many as 67% of adults report sleep disturbances at least once every night (Philips Global Sleep Survey, 2019). 
  • 8 in 10 adults around the world want to improve their sleep but 60% have not sought help from a medical professional (Philips Global Sleep Survey, 2019). 
  • 44% of adults around the world say that the quality of their sleep has gotten worse over the past five years (Philips Global Sleep Survey, 2019).

National sleep statistics

The prevalence of sleep disorders in the United States is so high that the CDC declared insufficient sleep a public health problem. Here are some national statistics on sleep loss in the U.S.:

  • 70 million Americans have chronic sleep problems (CDC, 2017).
  • 1 in 3 U.S. adults regularly don’t get enough sleep  (CDC, 2016). 
  • Insufficient sleep is experienced by about 30% of the general population that’s over the age of 18 (CDC, 2018).  
  • 48% of Americans report snoring during the night (ASA, 2021). 
  • 88% of American adults reportedly lose sleep due to binge-watching (American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2019). 

Sleep statistics by sex

Men and women each have their fair share of sleeping problems. In fact, one sleep survey found that 30% of respondents reported that they would like to file for a “sleep divorce” (in other words, sleep separately from their partner).

  • Between 9% and 21% of women have obstructive sleep apnea (ASA, 2021).
  • Between 24% and 31% of men have obstructive sleep apnea (ASA, 2021). 
  • The lifetime risk of getting insomnia may be up to 40% higher for women than for men (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 2016). 
  • Up to 94% of pregnant women reportedly experience sleep disturbances during pregnancy (Obstetric Medicine, 2015).
  • About 46% of women report having sleeping problems almost every night (National Sleep Foundation, 2007). 
  • The sleep disorder restless leg syndrome is more common among women than among men (MedlinePlus, 2019). 
  • About 57% of men and 40% of women in America snore (Merck Manual, 2020).  

Sleep statistics by age

  • 37% of adults between the ages of 20 and 39 report short sleep duration (ASA, 2021).
  • 40% of adults between the ages of 40 and 59 report short sleep duration (ASA, 2021).
  • As many as 50% of kids will experience a sleep problem (American Family Physician, 2014).
  • Between 1% and 5% of children will experience obstructive sleep apnea (American Family Physician, 2014).
  • Almost three-quarters of high school students aren’t getting enough sleep (CDC, 2015). 
  • As many as 60% of college students have poor sleep quality (Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 2017). 
  • Between 40% and 70% of older adults have chronic sleep problems, half of which are undiagnosed (Sleep Medicine Clinics, 2017). 

Sleep aid statistics

One Consumer Reports survey found that about 20% of adults have tried a natural sleep remedy within the last year. Melatonin is a popular insomnia remedy, but it’s not well-known how effective melatonin is for sleep. Only 5% to 10% of people may feel sleepy after taking melatonin, and 24% reportedly experience drowsiness or fogginess the day after taking it, according to Consumer Reports. When natural remedies aren’t helpful, some people turn to over-the-counter medicine, prescription drugs, or other substances that cause sleepiness. In a 2021 sleep survey, SingleCare found the following sleep aid statistics:

  • 20% took natural vitamins and supplements (like melatonin or magnesium)
  • 10% took over-the-counter pain relievers (Tylenol PM or ZzzQuil for example)
  • 9% used marijuana
  • 8% used over-the-counter sleep aids (such as Unisom)
  • 7% used antihistamines that cause drowsiness (like Benadryl)
  • 7% used prescription sleep aids (including Lunesta, Ambien, Restoril, etc.)
  • 6% drank alcohol
  • 5% used CBD oil
  • 3% reported using other substances for sleep
  • 56% reported none of the above

RELATED: A guide to sleep aids: What are your options?

Sleep and overall health

Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is correlated with better overall health and a higher quality of life.  “Current sleep research has shown that sleep may be associated with memory consolidation and emotional regulation and a lack of sleep may adversely impact these,” Dr. Singh says. “Improving sleep has shown to increase performance, cognition, and even help regulate appetite and weight.”

  • People who sleep less than seven hours per night are more likely to develop obesity than those who sleep more (BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 2018). 
  • The risk of diabetes increases with too little sleep (less than seven hours) and too much sleep (more than nine hours). (Harvard School of Public Health, 2021).
  • Those who sleep less than six hours per night are 20% to 32% more likely to develop hypertension than people who get seven to eight hours of sleep per night (Sleep Medicine Clinics, 2016).
  • Not driving while sleepy, driving after less than or equal to five hours of sleep, and driving between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. may reduce up to 19% of car crash injuries (British Medical Journal, 2002).   
  • Although both chronic lack of sleep (less than seven hours) and long sleep durations (more than nine hours) are associated with a higher risk of mortality, longer sleep durations come with the highest risk of mortality (Journal of the American Heart Association, 2017).

In 2014, the CDC also reported on the risk of the following chronic health problems increased due to sleep deprivation:

Risk of chronic health problems by sleep deprivation

Less than 7 hours of sleep Greater than or equal to 7 hours of sleep
Arthritis 28.8% 20.5%
Depression 22.9% 14.6%
Asthma 16.5% 11.8%
COPD 8.6% 4.7%
Diabetes 11.1% 8.6%
Heart attack 4.8% 3.4%
Coronary heart disease 4.7% 3.4%
Stroke 3.6% 2.4%
Chronic kidney disease 3.3% 2.2%
Cancer 10.2% 9.8%

The cost of sleeping problems

  • The U.S. has the highest annual economic loss due to insufficient sleep in the world with up to $411 billion lost per year (Rand Health Quarterly, 2017).
  • Each year, about 100,000 deaths occur in U.S. hospitals due to medical errors. Sleep deprivation has been shown to be a significant contributor to this (ASA, 2021).
  • An in-center sleep study ranges from $500 to $3,000. In-home sleep tests typically cost $300 to $600 (Advanced Sleep Medicine Services, Inc.).
  • Insomnia treatment costs upward of $1,500 per year, which includes a generic sleeping pill and behavioral therapy (American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2011).

Causes of sleep disorders

Sleep disorders can be complex to understand because they can be caused by multiple factors. According to Dr. Singh, there are four potential causes of sleep disorders: 

  1. Genetic risk factors: Having a family history of similar disorders may leave you with an increased risk of having a sleep disorder.
  2. Anatomy: Having narrow oral-nasal passages, a large neck circumference, and jaw shape and size can all affect how you sleep. Anatomy is seen as a risk factor for sleep-disordered breathing such as sleep apnea. A common risk factor is increased body weight. 
  3. Extrinsic factors: Having poor lifestyle habits, anxiety, stress, consuming alcohol or tobacco close to bedtime, and excessive LED exposure in the evening hours before bed (phones, tablets, etc.) can lead to the onset of sleep disorders. 
  4. Medical conditions and medications: Certain medical conditions can have an adverse impact on sleep and can ultimately lead to sleep disorders. Things like heartburn, diabetes, depression, PTSD, and schizophrenia can keep people up at night. 

Treating sleep disorders

Sleep disorders are typically treated with a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes. “The body of sleep research is rapidly growing,” Dr. Singh explains. “Wearable technology and home testing have increased sleep health awareness. Behavioral techniques, medications, and medical devices are being researched and several have been successfully invented and are used to alleviate several sleep disorders.”

Medications like Silenor (doxepin), Belsomra (suvorexant), or Restoril (temazepam) are used to treat sleep disorders.

RELATED: Restoril vs. Ambien

Making certain lifestyle changes can also help improve the quality of your sleep and your overall well-being. Reducing stress, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, creating good sleeping habits, and sleeping with a sleep machine are all examples of ways to reduce your sleeplessness at home. The exact lifestyle changes you may need to make will vary based on the specific sleep disorder you have, so it’s always a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider before making a major change to your daily routine.  

Sometimes surgery is necessary to treat sleep disorders like sleep apnea and snoring. Hyoid suspension surgeries, genioglossus advancement, palatal implants, and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) are all examples of surgeries for sleep apnea and snoring. Surgeries are usually performed as a last resort after lifestyle changes and sleep meds have failed. 

If you have trouble sleeping and are wondering how to fix it, the best thing to do is make an appointment with your healthcare provider. He or she will be able to tell you whether or not you have a sleep disorder and will be able to create a treatment plan for you that fits into your lifestyle.  

Sleep questions and answers

What percentage of the population has trouble sleeping?

According to the National Institutes of Health, 7% to 19% of adults reportedly do not get enough sleep, 40% reportedly fall asleep during the day at least once a month, and 50 to 70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders.

In 2014, the CDC reported 35% of all adults in the U.S. experience short sleep duration (less than seven hours).

How much sleep does the average person get at night?

The average person gets less than seven hours of sleep every night, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Which age group needs the most sleep?

Infants 0-3 months old need the most sleep. They need about 14 to 17 hours in a 24-hour period.  

Do females need more sleep than males?

There is a lot of published research that suggests that men need less sleep than women. Studies show women not only need more sleep than men, but they also tend to sleep about 11 minutes longer every night.   

Is there such a thing as too much sleep? 

Getting enough sleep is important, but sleeping too much can be just as bad for your health as being chronically sleep-deprived. Regularly getting too much sleep can increase your risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, depression, obesity, and even strokes.    

Sleep research