Americans are getting less sleep because they’re also more stressed, survey shows

Are Americans too stressed to sleep? A recent Gallup poll shows just how sleep-deprived we are.


Here’s something that may be totally surprising to many of us: Americans are getting less sleep because they’re also more stressed. A Gallup poll found that 57% of Americans say they would benefit from more sleep and that their stress levels have increased. And one-fifth of Americans sleep less than five hours a night. This documents a big change since this survey was last done a decade ago. NPR’s Yuki Noguchi joins me to discuss his reporting. Yuki, most Americans are not getting enough sleep now. Is it true in every way?

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: It is, and it’s true across all demographics: you know, men, women, old, young. And it’s been a downward march toward less and less sleep since the 1940s. But in the last decade, women under 50 experienced a sharp decline, and now just over a quarter of those women say they’re getting enough sleep.

MARTNEZ: Okay. Why that?

NOGUCHI: Well, you know, the big underlying question of why this happens in general and for these groups of people specifically is something that the survey didn’t really get into, even though they correlated insomnia with Stress. But choose a woman, any woman, and especially if she’s a mother like Katie Krimitsos, she might say something like this.

KATIE KRIMITSOS: There are a million invisible details that we’re managing. When we go to sleep at night, it’s very unlikely that all of these things have been laid to rest, you know, tied up and all tucked away and nice.

NOGUCHI: Krimitsos says, you know, she feels that modern life keeps speeding up and she has to pedal faster.

KRIMITSOS: The speed of our lives has increased significantly. Our interpretation of how fast life should be and what we should, quote and quote, “get” or have or do has increased exponentially.

NOGUCHI: You know, her own sleep problems inspired her to start a podcast called “Sleep Meditation for Women.” And Krimitsos runs a network of podcasts, and those that address sleep, he says, are particularly successful.

MARTNEZ: Okay, so when he talks about the speed of life, I think he’s talking about technology, because I have to imagine, Yuki, that the smartphone is probably the worst kind of light night to sleep

NOGUCHI: Exactly. Exactly, yes. The decline in sleep coincides with the prevalence of smartphones. And sleep researcher Gina Marie Mathew is worried, especially for teenagers. She is a postdoctoral researcher at Stony Brook Medicine in New York. And he says smartphones keep our minds busy or preoccupied with more things later.

GINA MARIE MATHEW: Today, among teenagers, 91% have a smartphone, and among adults, it’s probably closer to 100%. There is definitely a link between using more screen-based media and poor sleep.

NOGUCHI: But she says in general, you know, we have this cultural problem when it comes to sleep, and she says we just don’t value sleep enough. We do not have enough social supports to give people, and especially young women, the possibility to rest and relax.

MARTNEZ: Okay. If you can, Yuki, you can get some sleep. This is NPR’s Yuki Noguchi.

NOGUCHI: Thank you.


Copyright © 2024 NPR. All rights reserved. Please visit our website terms of use and permissions at for more information.

NPR transcripts are created on a fast deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authorized record of NPR programming is the audio record.

#Americans #sleep #theyre #stressed #survey #shows
Image Source :

Leave a Comment