Nearly Half Of Americans Get Less Than Recommended Amount Of Sleep: Study

12/20/2013 08:23 am ET
Rubberball/Mike Kemp via Getty Images

Two in five Americans don't get the recommended seven or more hours of sleep a night, according to a new Gallup report.

Gallup researchers surveyed 1,031 U.S. adults and found that 59 percent of Americans reported getting seven or more hours of sleep in a typical night in 2013. This number has not changed dramatically since 1990 (when 57 percent of Americans said they got seven or more hours of sleep a night).

However, the figure is a stark contrast to 1942, when 84 percent of Americans said they got seven or more hours of sleep a night.

While the amount of needed sleep will differ from person to person, the National Sleep Foundation generally recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Kids and teens need more sleep (teens need 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep a night, while school-aged kids need 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night).

The new Gallup study showed that very few Americans get more than nine hours of sleep a night -- just 5 percent -- but 14 percent said they usually get five or fewer hours of sleep a night. Twenty-nine percent said they get eight hours of sleep a night, 25 percent say they get seven hours of sleep a night, and 26 percent say they get six hours of sleep a night.

Nearly half of Americans say that they would probably feel better if they got more sleep -- 43 percent -- while 56 percent say they get the amount of sleep they need each night. These figures have not changed much since 2001, though in 1991, more Americans said they got as much sleep as they needed.

sleep needs

Of course, it's not surprising that people who reported regularly getting less sleep a night said that they would feel better if they got more sleep. Just 32 percent of people who slept six or fewer hours a night said they get as much sleep as they need, while 67 percent of people who sleep this much say they would like to have more. Meanwhile, 86 percent of people who sleep eight or more hours a night say they get enough sleep, and just 13 percent say they could use more sleep.

In addition, some age groups were more likely than others to get more sleep. For instance, 67 percent of people ages 65 and older get seven or more hours of sleep a night, compared with 54 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds. Parents are also more likely to get inadequate sleep, as are people with lower incomes. People between ages 18 and 49 are more likely to say they could use more sleep -- 51 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds and 52 percent of 30-to-49-year-olds -- while 63 percent of 50-to-64-year-olds and 70 percent of people ages 65 and older said they get as much sleep as they need.

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