How much sleep do you need? Americans are misinformed about better sleeping habits

According to a study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Tempur-Pedic, nearly 28% of respondents believe the amount of sleep you need remains constant regardless of your age. (Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash)

Over one in four Americans don’t know how much sleep they should be getting, according to new research.

That’s unsurprising given the fact that in a new survey of 2,000 Americans, on average, people reported not going to bed until a full two hours after when they feel like they should.

The study also demonstrated that nearly 28% of respondents believe the amount of sleep you need remains constant regardless of your age.

And while 37% claimed that caffeine has “no effect” on their personal ability to sleep, less than half (40%) knew the doctor-recommended time that you should stop consuming it, 4–6 hours before bedtime in order to get a good night’s sleep.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Tempur-Pedic, the survey also looked at respondents’ knowledge of recommendations for good sleep habits.

If the survey’s test of Americans’ sleep knowledge had been administered in a traditional academic context, respondents would have received mixed marks.

Sixty-five percent of respondents correctly identified that the change of season can impact one’s sleep.

While over half of respondents correctly identified that “REM” stands for “rapid eye movement,” only 13% were able to correctly select the definition — shallow sleep that increases brain activity and promotes learning — from a list of options.

Over four in 10 respondents did not know that sleeping in a room colder than 70 degrees is recommended by doctors for optimal sleep quality.

Half of respondents agreed that one bad night of sleep can “derail their entire week,” which has likely left them trying to catch up on shut-eye.

And over 27% thought they slept worse when sharing a bed with a partner.

Sleep experts warn that, from a neurological perspective, napping isn’t a replacement for lost sleep, but it can help you feel more rested during the day.

Yet 44% incorrectly believed that taking a nap during the day can “make up for ‘lost’ sleep” at night.

“Thirty years of commitment to innovation in the mattress industry has taught us a lot about the science of sleep, but one thing hasn’t changed: When it comes to getting quality sleep, one of the best things you can do is to make it a priority,” said Allen Platek, Vice President of New Product Development at Tempur-Pedic.

“Ensuring you’re maintaining a good sleep routine and have the right sleep environment — with a supportive, comfortable mattress and temperature control — can set the stage for a restful night of sleep.”

The survey also probed respondents’ knowledge of the relationship between sleep and productivity.

A full 93% of respondents could identify at least one way that poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep could impact productivity in general.

But half of respondents were unaware that oversleeping is (somewhat counterintuitively) linked to decreased productivity in the workplace, which was revealed in a 2018 StayWell study of 600,000 employees published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

“Getting a good night’s sleep, consistently, has been found to be key to both your overall wellness and your productivity in multiple contexts,” added Platek.

“Knowledge is power, and understanding both recommendations for good sleep habits, and your own personal needs regarding sleep, is crucial to performing and feeling your best on a day-to-day basis.”



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