Are You Sleepy?

Ken AshfordHealth CareLeave a Comment

It’s National Sleep Awareness Week, and we, as a nation, aren’t getting enough sleep. God knows I’m not.

Below is the percent of adults who report getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night.  Note that the perecentages have risen since the question was last asked two decades ago.


This is CDC data from 2006. There are some hints in the data that an organized work schedule helped people maintain a regular sleep schedule. Those in the categories of fully or otherwise employed reported the lowest rates of a month of poor sleep (both about 10 percent). That number crept up to 13 percent in the unemployed, and went up to nearly 25 percent in those unable to work. Regular workers still missed a few days of sound sleep a month, while that never happened for over half the retired population (although that might be a function of age).

These numbers need to be viewed with some caution.  Although the CDC has calculated confidence intervals, they were not released along with the data.  Given the different ways of viewing this data (always getting a poor night’s sleep vs. never doing so vs. having at least one poor night, etc.), it’s also difficult to assign too much value to any one of these figures. Still, the data suggest that a significant percentage of the US population is consistently getting too little sleep, and that the the number of people with sleep issues is rising.