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If you’re feeling a bit groggy and sleep-deprived, buck up. You’re probably getting more sleep than you used to get.

According to a Washington Post analysis of American Time Use Survey 2019-2022 data, Americans are getting more sleep than at any point in the last 20 years, “a trend that accelerated during the pandemic,” the news company reported.

“An individual in the United States gained 10 minutes of sleep per day, on average, between 2019 and 2022, according to data from the American Time Use Survey. That’s a meaningful increase, even at the individual level, sleep experts said. But those extra moments of counting sheep weren’t evenly shared. The biggest sleep gains were seen in younger adults between the ages of 25 and 34, men of all ages and people without children.”

The Post’s article lets you put what time you went to bed and when you got up, as well as your age and gender into its interactive graphic to see how you compare to your peers.

The challenge is that time to bed doesn’t account for the time it takes to go to sleep — and the time use survey is not as good as polysomnography, which tracks actual sleep and breaks it into components like deep sleep or dozing. So the Post acknowledges the bedtime data is off by a bit, but notes that it “still provides a consistent and robust look at sleep trends across populations.”

Among the findings:

Teens and young adults, ages 15-24, sleep more than older people every day of the week.

Women sleep more than men.

People tend to sleep more on weekends and holidays than weekdays.

Folks in prime parenting years, ages 35-54, get the least sleep on average.

The analysis shows that the gap between youths and young adults to age 34 is narrowing. And men gained 15 minutes of sleep a night between 2019 and 2022 compared to women, who gained just nine minutes.

What we know about sleep

In March, Deseret News published a “Guide to Sleep from A to Zzzs, compiling important factors about a vital health necessity. Sleep is crucial. As many as 70 million Americans have sleep disorders and fully 1 in 3 don’t get as much sleep as they should.

Gallup in 2022 put the cost of lost productivity at about $44.6 billion in the United States alone due to sleep issues.

Life-giving things happen in sleep that boost well-being and benefit actual mental and physical health. Memories consolidate, what you learned settles in for the duration and your cognitive function improves. Behavior problems and academic performance in kids are linked to poor sleep quality or inadequate duration. Inadequate sleep boosts the chance of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, depression, cardiovascular disease, lower sex drive, poor immune system response and other problems, including premature death.

While it varies a bit by the individual, sleep needs are somewhat standard. Per the article, “Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night; most experts call seven the minimum. Teens need eight to 10 hours, while older adults need seven to eight. Young school-age kids need nine to 12 hours, while toddlers need 10 to 13. Babies may sleep two-thirds of the time, while kids through age 2 should sleep 11 to 14 hours.”

And you can’t make up for chronic sleep deprivation by sleeping in on the weekend. There aren’t enough hours available. But naps — between 20 and 40 minutes — aren’t a bad idea to perk yourself up if you’re short-term sleep-deprived.

The best sleep trick for long life, by the way, is going to bed and getting up at the same time. If you can only manage one of them consistently, choose getting up on a regular schedule. That trumps sleep quality and duration, studies suggest.

A few tips for better sleep

Advice abounds for getting better sleep. Here are a few favorites:

  • Make sure where you sleep is comfortable, quiet and dark.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine late in the day.
  • Have bedtime and awakening routines that help your body figure out that sleep and wake times are important.
  • Consider yoga or meditation before bed.

You can find other tips in the Deseret News sleep guide.

Do you think you may suffer from Sleep Issues and live in Florida, California or New York?

If so, please consider scheduling a proper virtual online Sleep Disorder and Anxiety diagnosis with one of our physicians. Although we have an online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis tool, a proper diagnosis from a Board-Certified Medical Doctor will help you know for sure. If appropriate, a customized treatment program will be recommended at the conclusion of that initial visit.

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