Study: Americans had more ‘terrible nights’ of sleep in 2019 than 2018

(Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash)

Americans would happily shell out $316.61 if it meant just one perfect night of sleep, according to new research.

This is up from $290 — the average amount that survey respondents said they would pay for perfect sleep in 2018 — revealing the extreme value respondents placed on a perfect night of sleep in 2019.

The survey of 2,000 American adults suggests that, despite a desire for perfect sleep, the average American is not even close to getting the recommended eight hours per night — and is even getting less sleep than reported last year.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Mattress Firm, survey results showed respondents averaged only five and a half hours per night in 2019, compared to six hours and 17 minutes in 2018.

The study also suggests that, unfortunately, one in four Americans slept poorly this year.

Respondents had more terrible nights of sleep this year compared to last — reporting, on average, 105 terrible nights of sleep in 2019 compared to 99 the previous year.

That might help to explain why napping was also more popular in 2019, with respondents taking an average of 115 midday snoozes in 2019 compared to just 93 naps in 2018.

Respondents also reported an average of 102 “failed” naps this year, where they laid down, but couldn’t fall asleep.

It wasn’t all bad, though: Looking at 2019 in review, respondents had, on average, 120 great nights of sleep where they fell asleep right away and slept through the night with no trouble.

One thing still holds true from 2018 — if you’re looking for the secret to a good night’s sleep, sleeping on your back may be the key.

Surveys from 2018 and 2019 showed that those who slept on their backs at night were the most likely to say they slept “perfectly well” this past year.

Interestingly, even though sleeping on your side is the most common sleeping position, those who said it’s their go-to actually slept the worst.

And if you had trouble getting a good night of sleep, the survey results point to the possible benefit of cuddling a pet.

The results showed that those who allowed pets in the bed slept better than those who didn’t.

Seven in 10 of those who slept with a pet said they slept “perfectly well” in 2019. Only 24% of those who didn’t sleep with a pet said the same.

Surprisingly, nearly 70% of people don’t use technology to track their sleep, despite the popularity of wearable technology like Fitbits and Apple Watches.

“I recommend practicing a bedtime routine — even something as simple as putting on a sleep mask each night, reading in bed for 20 minutes or practicing the same shower routine at the same time every night — signals to your brain it’s time to hit the hay,” said Dr. Sujay Kansagra, Mattress Firm’s sleep health expert.

“Creating a bedtime routine that lasts for 20–30 minutes and sticking to that routine can make all the difference in your energy, productivity and mood.”

The survey also revealed quite a bit about pre-bedtime routines and suggested that there are certain things Americans simply have to do before dozing off.

Along with unique bedtime rituals (listed below), those respondents who admitted to scrolling on their phone while lying in bed, did so for 12 and a half minutes, on average, before they could sleep.

“Your bed should be reserved for sweet dreams only — not tossing and turning all night due to distractions, such as noise and light,” said Kansagra. “Bright light, such as electronics or outside lighting, can decrease the body’s production of a natural sleep hormone, melatonin, and leave you feeling wide awake.”

Of those who said they have a ritual (47%), the most common was reading a book, followed closely by watching a specific TV show or movie and taking some type of vitamin or supplement.


  1. Read a book 42%
  2. Watch a specific TV show/movie 42%
  3. Take a vitamin/supplement 36%
  4. Take a warm bath/shower 36%
  5. Drink warm milk 36%
  6. Meditate 36%
  7. Have sex 29%
  8. Plan out the next day 26%
  9. Drink a cup of tea/herbal tea 25%
  10. Put on a sound machine 23%


  • “I put on noise-canceling headphones and listen to Brian Eno.”
  • “I play a handheld Yahtzee game.”
  • “I take off only my left sock.”
  • “I play online bingo.”
  • “I give my cat a treat.”
  • “I write poetry.”
  • “I clean the house.”
  • “I drink a bottle of water.”
  • “I take a cold bath.”
  • “I drive my car around for a half hour to 45 minutes.”

*Responses edited for clarity*

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<

NOTE: All news copy and multimedia on this SWNS account is free to use as you see fit. Where research has been conducted, we ask that you credit the company which commissioned it.




SWNS is a UK and US-based news and media content agency with a proud 40-year history.

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