Sleep Statistics from Sleepless in America

By Wayne Caswell, Intelligent Sleep and founder of Modern Health Talk

This last Sunday, I watched “Sleepless in America,” a 2-hour documentary on the National Geographic channel, and I captured some of its powerful statistics and blended them with my own, forming the basis of today’s article. But first, here’s the 3-min trailer. Additional short video segments are included below, along with a related infographic, and if the full length video gets posted, I’ll include it too.

Sleepless in America – Full Version (1:28:15 min)

Sleep Statistics

How much sleep do we Need?

  • Every species studied to date (plant or animal) needs sleep.
  • Human Infants need 16 hours/day
  • Children ages 5-12 need 10-11 hours/night
  • Teens need 8-10 hours
  • Adults need 7-9 hours
  • Seniors need 6-8 hours

How much sleep do we Get?

  • 2 hours — Americans sleep this much less than we did 50 150 years ago.
  • 40% of all adults sleep less than 7 hours. (Actually most sleep less than 7 hrs Mon-Fri.)
  • >40% of night shift workers sleep less than 6 hours.
  • 30% of all adult workers get less than 6 hours. (CDC, 2012)
  • 70% of adolescents are sleep deprived.

Short Sleep is a KILLER

  • 20% more likely to Die in 20 years
  • 27% higher risk of Obesity
    • Hungrier: high-calorie, high-carb
    • Increased appetite for fatty foods 33%
    • 500 more calories/day consumed (like adding 1 cheese burger/day to your diet)
    • 30-40% reduced Glucose Metabolism
  • 62% higher risk of Breast Cancer
  • 48% higher risk of Heart Disease
  • 5 times higher risk of Diabetes
    • >29M Americans have diabetes.
    • >79M more have pre-diabetes.
  • 3 times higher risk of catching a Cold due to Impaired Immunity
  • 4 times higher risk of Stroke
  • 5 times higher risk of developing Depression
  • Brain Tissue loss and failure to clear out amyloid plaques & toxins associated with Alzheimer’s

Drowsy Driving is a KILLER

  • 20% of Car Accidents (>100,000/year)
  • 1,500 Deaths
  • 71,000 Injuries
  • $12.5 billion Monetary Loss
  • 32% reduced Alertness with 1.5 less sleep
  • Like driving Drunk (<5 hours sleep as bad as 5% blood-alcohol)

Benefits of Good Sleep (messages for women)

  • Look Better: We all need our Beauty Sleep
  • Overall Appearance: less attractive, sad looking
  • Weight: Lose 14.3 lbs/yr with 1 hour more sleep
  • Health: Live longer & better
  • School: Develop higher IQ, get better grades
  • Family: Improved relationships & sex

Benefits of Good Sleep (messages for men)

  • Improved: attention, creativity, decision-making, focus, mood, reaction & recovery times, working memory, and more
  • Resulting in: more raises & promotions, earning capacity, net worth
  • 11% quicker recovery from Exhaustion (better workouts)
  • 17% improved Reaction Times off the block (swimming)
  • 3% improved Reaction Times (basketball)
  • 0.1 second faster 40-yard dash (football)
  • 42% boost in Hitting Accuracy (tennis)
  • 3x fewer lapses in attention (baseball)
  • Naps among military pilots improved performance of 34% and alertness 100% (NASA)

Other Sleep Stats

  • Corporate productivity: $63 billion/year lost from sleep deprivation (Harvard Health News, 2011)
  • Disasters: Experts now believe sleep deprivation played a role in:
    • the Exxon Valdez oil spill,
    • Staten Island Ferry crash, and
    • Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown, among others.
    • among other disasters.
  • Mood & Emotion: 60% more reactive
  • Medical errors: increase dramatically with long hours.
  • Students: later start times result in higher test scores, less depression, and 70% fewer car crashes.
  • Only about 50% of people who try a CPAP machine for apnea continue to use it regularly.
  • 60M sleep medications were prescribed by US physicians in 2011.

The Perils of Getting Too Little Sleep

Highway Hypnosis

Sleep Deep

Sleep After Combat

Deleted Scene: A Good Night’s Sleep

Deleted Scene: A Bad Night’s Sleep

Testimonials: A Look at Sleep Apnea

Testimonials: What Others Don’t Understand About My Sleep Problems

Testimonials: Fatigue All The Time

Testimonials: The Scary Nature of Drowsy Driving

Testimonials: Sleep Patters and Weight Health

Testimonials: The Future for the Sleep Deprived

Testimonials: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Testimonials: School Start Times

Related Infographic

Click to see original Sleepless-in-America infographic