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Who's most sleep-deprived?

53 percent of Americans sleep less than 7 hours a night.

By Sally Wadyka Sep 3, 2013 9:49PM
If you’re one of the millions of Americans slumped over yet another cup of coffee, it might not come as much of a surprise to find out that the U.S. is one of the more sleep-deprived nations in the world. And now, a newly released survey has come out that confirms it.According to the Sleep Foundation’s 2013 International Bedroom Poll, residents of the U.S. and Japan are nearly equal when it comes to lack of sleep. The poll, which looked at men and women ages 25 to 55 in the U.S., Japan, Canada, Mexico, Germany and the U.K., found that Americans and Japanese reported sleeping about 40 minutes less on workdays than people in other countries. In fact, an alarming one in five Americans say they routinely sleep less than six hours on a work night – twice the number who are that sleep-deprived in other countries.

But Americans are far from alone in our sleeplessness. About 50 percent of people in each of the countries surveyed said that they did not sleep well on work nights. And while we all try to make up for it on weekends, logging an extra 45 minutes a night on average, those statistics still add up to a lot of people worldwide who are yawning right now.

So what could help residents of these sleepy nations get a little more shut-eye? A clean bedroom, for one thing. The vast majority of those polled said that going to bed in a room with a fresh, pleasant scent helped them to relax. Bedtime rituals can be a big help, too. More than 60 percent of Mexicans and about half of Americans say that they pray or meditate in the hour before heading to bed, while Brits tend to opt for a soothing cup of tea to help them unwind.

"This groundbreaking poll suggests that chronic sleep deprivation is a significant global health problem," says Dr. Russell Rosenberg, a member of the NSF 2013 International Bedroom Poll expert panel. "Relax, turn off the mobile phone and TV, and create a more pleasant bedtime routine.  Setting the stage for good sleep can change your life."

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired just thinking about it.
Tags: Studies
Sep 4, 2013 10:40PM

As an ex-insomniac, I've been through all of it. There are many reasons for insomnia, and some are self-induced, while others not so. Here are a few tips:

Never take caffeine after 2 p.m. Caffeine can have a cumulative effect on your brain.

Don't eat your biggest meal at dinner. Switch dinner and lunch. Lighten your belly.

Don't try to alcohol yourself to sleep. A waste of time, and good liquor.

Keep work and home life as separate issues.

No bedroom television. Train your brain that the bed is where you sleep.

If you awaken in the middle of the night, try to drain activity from your brain, by pulling   your knees up to your chest and hold for 15-secs and then, go limp for 30-seconds. Repeat. You'll fall asleep during one of the rest/limp periods.

Sep 4, 2013 11:21PM

I am a physician and I address this issue often with almost every patient. There is no substitute for a good night's sleep. Humans can adapt to nearly any situation. And those who sleep less than seven hours per night on a regular basis have adapted. But they do not thrive and most are not the least bit healthy.


Today's world is faster and the responsibilities in maintaining one's life are greater. It isn't difficult to understand why many Americans are trading a good night's sleep for a little more fun or productivity. But the compromise to health in the long run isn't worth it. And denial fuels this feverish insomnia that many have adapted.


Getting a good night's sleep is easy. No electronics in the bedroom. Turn off the TV one hour before going to sleep. Allow time to think about the day and choose a restful activity one hour before sleep. If one reads, choose something that is not thought provoking or intense. Go to bed each night about the same time. And no caffeine six hours before going to sleep. Eat lighter meals in the evening. And create a beautiful environment in the bedroom. My wife and I have a rule not to discuss business, work, future plans or investments when in the bedroom. Nothing that would stop us from winding down.

Sep 4, 2013 11:48PM
In modern society, it seems t be a status symbol if a person is constantly busy.  Thus, many people have lost the ability to shut off.  I hear co-workers brag abut how they "couldn't go to bed until very late, but made it to work on very little sleep."  How many people's lives did they risk as they drove to work under the influence of extreme fatigue?  We all need to learn that sleeping is as important as eating.
Sep 4, 2013 11:01PM
Talk about sleep apnea, which is a disruptive and potentally dangerous sleep disorder.
Sep 4, 2013 11:41PM
There are many reasons, one being menopause.  It takes away your sleep big time.
Sep 4, 2013 10:23PM

Some people act so wound up and hyper that they can’t sleep restfully – that’s just sad.  We seem to be a generation of ADHD adults. Personally, I LOVE sleep! It’s my chance to recharge from all the BS of the day & enter a wonderful dream state. On most nights I average 7 hours, and if I consistently get 6 or less, my immune system crashes horribly. People really need to learn how to relax & ignore events from the rest of their day. “Studies” always say they should unplug in the evening, but doing things like browsing online or watching TV help relax me. So that’s a highly individual thing.

Sep 4, 2013 11:56PM
Someone close to me is bipolar and sleep is a huge problem, nightmares wake him up, if he goes back to sleep it starts all over, so he gets up to stop the cycle. Side effect of some of the meds is the pseudo-parkinsons that he gets the jumps and shakes, he says the body is exhausted but the mind does not stop racing. Sleeping pills make the nightmares worse. Cycles of the bipolar make it worse. Lots of med changes, lots of Drs, no answers. Disrupts those who care and are tuned into someone else movements. Sometimes not just a lifestyle or change of routine, psychiatric problems have huge impacts on insomnia.
Sep 5, 2013 12:57AM
I would write a comment, but it is bedtime and I aim to get most of my eight hours.  Goodnight.  Oh yeah, the alarm goes off at five.
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