Survey: Average American Has 99 ‘Terrible’ Nights Of Sleep Each Year


With millions of Americans struggling to get good rest, one in four say they still count sheep to help them fall asleep. In fact, the average adult would shell out nearly $300 for a night of perfect slumber.


NEW YORK — With as many as 70 million adults in the U.S. suffering from a sleep disorder, there’s no question that a good night’s rest is incredibly valuable to many. Just how valuable, you ask? According to one survey, the average American would pay $290 for a perfect night’s sleep.

Stretch that $290 out over a year, and we’re talking $105,000 for 365 straight nights of peaceful, healthy slumber. That might even be worth it to the 35% of American adults who log less than seven hours of sleep in a typical night. This latest survey of 3,000 adults, commissioned by Mattress Firm, found the average American gets just 6 hours and 17 minutes of sleep nightly.

The survey sought to find out more about Americans’ sleeping habits and what they value most about their beds and sleep schedules.

Researchers found a profound difference in sleep quality between different sleeping positions. The most popular position to fall asleep was on one’s side (37%), yet most people agreed the best quality of sleep occurred when they slept on their backs.

Having a pet in bed also contributed to higher quality sleep. Those who slept with their furry friends reported sleeping better than respondents who did not.

“Bedtime routines and habits can make or break the quality of sleep you get each night, and how we sleep has a direct impact on how well we function every day,” notes Sunni Goodman, Vice President of Communications and Customer Experience with Mattress Firm, in a statement. “If we’re not well-rested, we can’t perform our best. Looking at these statistics for the year, and as a company obsessed with beds and sleep, we hope Americans will resolve to sleep more and improve their quality of sleep in 2019.”

Study participants averaged 106 “perfect” nights of sleep per year and 99 “terrible” nights of sleep, the authors calculated. On average, Americans attempted 107 naps a year, but they only reported a “successful” nap 93 times on average per year.

The study also found some interesting trends in how Americans fall asleep. About a third of those surveyed (32%) reported they needed the television on in order to fall asleep. And it seems just about everyone fiddles with their phone before shutting off the lights. The average respondent spends 15 minutes on their mobile device before drifting off to sleep.

As for other common behaviors before calling it a night, 42% said they read a book before going to sleep. Another 41% say a warm bath or shower is part of their nightly routine, while 40% tune in to a specific movie or TV show in bed.

Others are simply old fashioned. Believe it or not, a quarter of respondents literally count sheep to fall asleep.

Many people in the survey believed they found the secret to a good night’s sleep, which ranged from meditating for 10 minutes to eating a bowl of kiwi fruit before bed.

Some additional tips from respondents:

  • A nice cool room where it is not hot at all. Blankets rolled up to elevate my legs and a fan blowing loudly to drown out any sound from in the house or from outside.
  • Count the number of breaths you take.
  • Lavender in a diffuser.
  • Listen to the radio or podcast.
  • Not have anything with sugar at least 4 hours before going to sleep.

The survey was conducted by market research firm OnePoll in December 2018.

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