A new episode of your favorite TV show is out, but you work in the morning? Just cut back on sleep. Your project is due tomorrow, but all your friends are going to paintball? You’ll do the project during the night. The truth is, we take sleep for granted, just like breathing until we get the flu.
Sleep statistics for 2021 indicate that more than half of the world’s population is sleep deprived or suffers from some of the 70 known sleep disorders that plague contemporary society.
So, if you’re in your bed, wondering why counting sheep doesn’t work — keep reading, and learn some of the most interesting facts about sleep that we’ve gathered to ease your mind.
Top Ten Sleep Stats and Facts for Those Who Can’t Sleep:
- The amount of necessary sleep is determined individually.
- People need around seven minutes to fall asleep.
- Dreams can last up to 60 minutes.
- Oversleeping causes health problems.
- Children and teenagers need more sleep than adults.
- The world record for staying awake is 11 days and 25 minutes.
- Coronavirus led to a worldwide increase in sleep deprivation.
- Only between 25% and 30% of people get the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night.
- There are over 70 registered sleep disorders.
- Sleeping disorders and mental health issues are connected.
Facts About Sleep to Get You Started
Before we get onto more detailed matters, let’s set the key numbers and facts straight first. How much sleep do you need? What do your dreams mean? Keep scrolling and find out this and more!
1. The amount of necessary sleep is determined individually.
The majority of adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep, but this doesn’t have to be the case for everyone. Some people report getting only six hours of sleep, or up to ten — as long as it is peaceful, undisturbed sleep, anywhere between six and ten hours is considered a healthy amount of sleep that allows the brain to rest during the night.
2. We usually go through 4 or 5 sleep cycles during one night.
One of the more interesting facts about sleep is that it takes us about 90 minutes to reach the REM phase. The first REM phase doesn’t last long, but its length increases with each following cycle, which is the main reason behind our feeling that some dreams last longer than others — they actually do.
3. People need around seven minutes to fall asleep.
When we fall asleep, our brain starts producing short periods of activity that last for about 20 minutes, after which we cross from light to deep sleep and enter the fourth stage of our sleep cycle that lasts 30 minutes.
Sleep statistics indicate that sleep-walking and involuntary movements happen during the end of this phase. The fifth and final stage of our sleep cycle is the REM phase — in which we dream due to increased brain activity.
4. Dreams can last up to 60 minutes.
During healthy, undisturbed sleep, people enter the REM phase and dream approximately every 90 minutes. However, the length of dreams varies depending on the cycle.
Dreams tend to be shorter in initial cycles and extend afterward. It is estimated that people spend around 20% of their sleep in the REM phase.
5. Oversleeping causes health problems.
Sleeping more than you need can significantly increase your chances of developing diabetes, obesity, and heart problems. Studies have shown that individuals who sleep 9–10 hours are 21% more likely to become obese in just six years.
Some facts about sleep point to heart diseases, as the studies showed that women who slept 9–11 hours a night had a 38% higher chance of developing heart diseases over time than women who slept up to eight hours per night.
On the other hand, diabetes is more likely to develop in both individuals who oversleep and those who are sleep deprived.
6. Children and teenagers need more sleep than adults.
While an average adult needs around eight hours of sleep to function normally, CDC sleep statistics recommend that 6 to 12-year-old children should be allowed to sleep over nine hours a night, but not more than 12.
Adolescents need less sleep than children, but still more than eight – around ten hours a night is necessary for a teenage brain to function without difficulties.
7. A change in altitude can disturb your sleep.
One of the weird facts about sleep suggests that diminished oxygen levels at higher altitudes are connected to sleep disturbances. People report a lower quality of sleep and frequent interruptions at altitudes over 13,200 feet. It is estimated that it takes two or three weeks for someone to fully adapt to a change in altitude and establish a healthy sleep pattern.
8. The world record for staying awake is 11 days and 25 minutes.
The record was set in January 1964 by Randy Gardner, who did it as a part of his school project, which certainly doesn’t benefit the teenage sleep deprivation statistics. His senses and cognitive abilities were significantly affected during the experiment. After the experiment ended, there seemed to be no serious damage done to the boy’s health, although he did develop severe insomnia later on.
9. Coronavirus led to a worldwide increase in sleep deprivation.
A recent survey conducted across 60 countries showed a 46% increase in poor sleep among the general population, whereas only 25% of the participants reported low quality of sleep before the pandemic.
According to the sleep statistics for 2020, the most apparent cause is insomnia, like the stress, panic, and lack of healthy habits (regular exercising or healthy diet) keep people from falling asleep.
10. Sleep medication sales in the US skyrocketed in 2020.
When talking about the lack of sleep, statistics for this year show that over the counter sales of sleep medication are 44% times higher than in the same period of 2019. The US witnessed a 14.8% increase in sleep medication prescription in February and March of 2020.
11. Sleeping naked improves the quality of sleep.
(USA Today, Bustle b)
According to a survey of 1,000 people across the country, sleep trends have changed significantly, as 65% of millennials report sleeping nude for reasons of increased comfort (69%), a better quality of sleep (54%), and overall positive feeling (compared to 39% of boomers).
According to available data, men sleep naked more than women, although over 50% of women report sleeping naked.
12. Sleep habits and necessary hours of sleep change with age.
It is common knowledge that people need eight hours of sleep a night, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, this may not be entirely true. Sleep data indicate that adults need anywhere between seven and nine hours of healthy, undisturbed sleep for their brain to function well.
Babies, children, and teenagers commonly need around ten hours of sleep, as their developing bodies and brains need more energy and rest. The need for sleep decreases with age, and people who are older than 65 need only up to eight hours of sleep.
13. You cannot compensate for lost sleep during weekends.
Sleeping four hours today and then twelve hours tomorrow doesn’t count. And you won’t be able to make up for workday sleep deprivation during the weekend — sleep statistics show that 75% of people don’t get any more sleep during the weekend than they did during the workdays.
The research was done among sleep-deprived adults who have a habit of counting their ‘sleep debt .’ It showed that they get only one extra hour of sleep on Saturday and Sunday. Only around 27% of the survey participants reported having naps at least once per week to make up for lost sleep.
Sleeping Disorders Statistics
There are a lot of sleep disorders, and it turns out that it is relatively easy to develop them. All of them have a severe effect on our general health because sleeping is crucial to maintaining mental and physical health.
14. Only between 25% and 30% of people get the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night.
Data gathered by one of the most popular sleep tracking apps shows that the world average is 7.5 hours of sleep a night.
When it comes to sleep quality, countries with the best sleep quality are Finland, the Netherlands, and Ireland, where 82% of the population has healthy, undisturbed sleep.
Sleep quality is the lowest in Japan in Vietnam, where 68% of people can get a good night’s sleep.
15. Sleep deprivation affects the entire world.
Sleep statistics worldwide suggest that the majority of the planet is affected by sleep-related problems. The UK takes first place, with 63% of the adult population getting less sleep than they need.
Employees in the UK take around five days off from work just to make up for the lost sleep. Singapore and Australia closely follow the UK, with 62% and 61%, respectively, and the US is not far behind, with 58%.
16. There are over 70 registered sleep disorders.
Less interesting stats on sleep show that over 50% of people worldwide do not get enough sleep. Sleep disruptions cause countless problems with stress hormones, emotional control, and cognitive abilities, which is why almost 80% of adults try to get more sleep during weekends.
The most common sleep disorders are insomnia, sleep apnea, involuntary movement syndrome, and narcolepsy.
17. Sleeping disorders and mental health issues are connected.
Between 50% and 80% of people who experience mental health difficulties also suffer from sleep disorders. Sleep deprivation mostly affects patients with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and ADHD. Sleep statistics indicate that people who suffer from anxiety disorders have a 50% chance of developing sleep problems as well.
Patients with bipolar disorder have a 69% to 99% chance to experience insomnia during a manic episode. Similarly, depressed patients have a 65% to 90% to develop some kind of sleep-related issue — mostly insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea.
18. Children with ADHD develop a variety of sleep disorders.
Statistics on sleep show that one or more sleep disorders affect 25–50% of patients with ADHD, the most common being insomnia, short periods of sleep, and restlessness. Almost 25% of children with ADHD develop sleep disorders that disturb their breathing.
In comparison, 36% of them experience involuntary movements (restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder), which lowers their sleep quality and shortens its duration.
19. Young people use technology to monitor their sleep.
A 2017 research showed that younger people in the US tend to be more informed about the benefits of sleep, and statistics indicate that 32% of adults use sleep-tracking apps regularly to monitor their sleep and get insight into its quality.
However, only 9% of regular users are over 45, and over 15% are under 30. It is also interesting to note that women seem to be more engaged in securing their sleep quality, as 10% of women use sleep-trackers regularly, compared to only 5% of men.
20. Obstructive sleep apnea can develop with age.
Sleep apnea facts reveal that this breathing condition affects 25 million people in the US. It happens when soft tissue gets relaxed and prevents air from reaching the lungs during sleep, which is why more than half of all diagnosed cases are adults over 40 years whose tissues lost elasticity over time.
21. One in 2,000 people will develop narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy is a genetic disorder and is quite rare, but it still represents a serious medical problem affecting over 3 million people worldwide. Narcolepsy causes sleep paralysis, including excessive sleepiness and sudden stop in muscle function as people fall asleep at random times. However, only 10–25% of people who have narcolepsy develop all the symptoms, so it is estimated that around 75% of cases stay undiagnosed.
What percentage of the population has trouble sleeping?
Unfortunately, not many people get quality sleep today. To be precise, 51% of the world population is sleep deprived or suffers from some kind of sleep disorder.
How much sleep does the average person get?
Most recent research gathered through sleep tracking apps indicates that the average person sleeps 7.5 hours a night. However, that is still less than most people need for a good night’s sleep.
Is it OK to get 5 hours of sleep?
Although the need for sleep may vary, and some people can function normally after as little as six hours of sleep, the recommendations suggest that adults need between seven and nine hours to function normally. Plus, the lack of sleep may result in decreased mental and emotional abilities.
What age group is the most sleep-deprived?
When it comes to recent sleep statistics, college students seem to be at the most risk — young adults are the most sleep-deprived age group.
A 2018 research revealed that more than one-third of the US adults regularly get less than six hours of sleep a day. Moreover, younger people had less ability to focus their attention, made more cognitive failures, and were, in general, more vulnerable to external influences.
(Zitting, Kirsi- Marja et al. 2018)
What percentage of people sleep naked?
If you are an American millennial, chances are you are sleeping naked, as 65% of adults belonging to this category report sleeping in their birthday suit. The main reason behind this phenomenon is being more comfortable (69%), feeling more relaxed (58%), and better quality of sleep (54%).
(USA Today)(Bustle b)
Whether you are here to do a bit of light reading on the sleep statistics or get information on sleeping difficulties you are experiencing, please keep in mind that this text was only created for informational purposes. If you are having trouble sleeping, contact your doctor for a professional opinion.