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Americans Get More Sleep Than You Think

We may be running around too much and working too hard, but at least Americans are getting plenty of sleep. A new study, entitled "Not So Deprived: Sleep in America," indicates that US sleepers are getting about eight hours of shuteye a night, despite conventional wisdom to the contrary.

The recent research, from the University of Maryland, goes against the annual data released by the National Sleep Foundation (which, by the way, is partly funded by manufacturers of sleeping pills). In fact, the country as a whole may be getting more rest than it did 40 years ago. For the details,


According to the LiveScience story:

"Lots of people might feel like they're on a 24/7 treadmill," said study leader John P. Robinson, a UM sociologist. "But the picture of the typical American as sleep-starved is not consistent with what they report in their time diaries."

The average amount of sleeping time for adults increased about 3 hours per week in the past decade, up from 56 hours (8 hours/night) to 59 hours (8.4 hour/night), said Robinson.

Meanwhile, the Sleep Foundation found that Americans get an average of six hours and 40 minutes of sleep a night, and it contends that the study may be overestimating the amount of sleep people are getting. The eight-hours-a-night figure actually sounds more accurate to me, but it all depends on whose data you believe. What do you think? How many hours of sleep do you get a night?


rpenner rpenner 9 years
i usually get between 7-8 hours of sleep. but me and my bf are early to bed and early to rise. :)
cereal_please cereal_please 9 years
For me it really varies, but I get about 8 hours a night, which I think is fabulous for a college student. In high school I was getting about 5-7 hours. It helps that I don't start class until 10am or 2pm :)
EmyAnne EmyAnne 9 years
Average night for me is about 5-6 hours at most. By the comments people have made so far the 8+ hours of sleep doesn't seem right. I know that to feel rested and have energy I need 8 hours but i hardly ever get it with my work schedule. also, my husband likes to stay up late cuz he's one of those lucky ones that can function great on 5 hours of sleep, so it's hard to fall asleep when he's up with all the lights on making noise!
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Kaiitlyn...there is no way the average American gets four hours of sleep a night. I've never even met anyone that has claimed to only get four hours (regularly!!) a night! I used to need 9, but I make it a priority to sleep 7 or 8 now. Unfortunately, my job occasionally makes that impossible...I often work from 9 am to 2 or 3am since I am preparing for a huge I took today off! I'm in bed right now since I'm so wiped out after doing that for a week....crazy bosses, they're going to kill me1
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
OMG I WISH I could get 8 hours! My life is so busy though! I used to be really good about it, but lately (like the last 4-6 months) I get like 6.5 hours at most :P Some nights I even wake up and can't fall asleep again and end up with only 4 hours!
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i wish that i were part of the group who gets 8+ hours of sleep - i'm not :( soo sad. i'm lucky to get 6 which is usually a random and rare occurance for me.
Kaitlyn1229 Kaitlyn1229 9 years
They just did a report on 60 minutes that said the average american gets about 4 hours of sleep a night. So i'm confused I get about 6 if i'm lucky there's just way too much to do and you have to wind down before you sleep
ptotheenguin ptotheenguin 9 years
I get five to six. I'm one of those odd people that doesn't need a whole lot of sleep though. I need about six to wake up own my own and feel fully rested. I'm pretty cranky if that doesn't happen though, lol. As for the studies, I agree with the others -- it depends on their methods, so they could both be right in their own respects.
Pistil Pistil 9 years
Currently I get 4-6 hours of sleep most nights (I do have naps once in a while). I don't have trouble sleeping, there just aren't enough hours in the day!
emalove emalove 9 years
I get about seven/eight hours most nights, but sometimes it just doesn't feel like it.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
I read scientific papers all the time. Im pretty use to automatically looking for their methodology
j0j0y j0j0y 9 years
My schedule is so out of wack I go between 3(!) and 12(!) hours of sleep a day. My boyfriend gets a consistent 9 hours a day though.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
Right on JessNess! You have to read the study and see if their methods and info gathered justify their conclusion. Now that said I hope to become an American who gets more restful sleep shortly. I just got a medication to help me fall asleep and hopefully end my 5 year bout with insomnia. It worked last night but the real test is will I need to take it tonight and if I do will it work tonight? Last night I actually dreamt! For the first time in 5 years I entered REM and came out and had a dream. Incredible. Those hypnotic sleep medicines do not work on me but this one isn't a hypnotic or controlled substance, it just triggers your body to accept the melatonin it processes and willing go to sleep.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
In high school I always got 8 hours but now that I am in my third year of college 8 hours is a dream. Most nights average about 5hrs 30min. I have even functioned on three hours during finals which is pretty rough. Tip: schedule your college classes for more in the afternoon having a class at 12 is a dream
ibiteback ibiteback 9 years
I'm guessing they didn't survey high school students because I'm among the majority who is lucky to get 6 hours.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
I had to look up the source of their data The new study, based on telephone surveys and time-use diaries collected jointly the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, as well as time-use diaries collected by UM researchers I wonder how accurate people reported their hours. Also just because you got 8 hours of sleep does not mean it was restorative restful sleep I am someone who has to have at least 8 hours
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