NEW YORK — How long has it been since you had a really good night of sleep? A few days? A week maybe? A new survey finds two in three adults say they haven’t had an uninterrupted night of sleep since they were a teenager!
The poll of 2,000 American parents who attended college compared the difference between the phases of life in which respondents have lost sleep – intentionally or otherwise. On average, respondents reported that they currently get a mere five hours of sleep each night. That’s a far cry from the seven to nine hours recommended for adults by the National Sleep Foundation.
How COVID is ruining our sleep schedules
COVID-19 has taken a toll on parents’ restfulness, with over six in 10 respondents reporting they’ve had increased difficulty sleeping since the start of the pandemic. However, those respondents may want to blame their college days for starting the trend.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of SugarBear Sleep, the study examined the possible long-term effects of these different types of “sleepless years.”
When asked about the period of their lives during which they felt they needed sleep the most, nearly four in 10 (38%) cited their college years. Another 15 percent named their time as new parents.
On average, respondents said their quality of sleep started to decrease around the age of 23. Catching up on sleep became more complicated around this time as well. Respondents reported that their ability to sleep in dropped off around age 25.
“The coming-of-age period – from high school to when you start your family – can be so tough to navigate from a sleep perspective,” says SugarBear’s sleep expert in a statement.
“While it might feel impossible as a busy college student or new parent, prioritizing sleep is one of the best things you can do to help prevent illness, boost memory, and improve your mood, but even when we do prioritize this, falling asleep doesn’t always come as easily as we’d hope,” the expert adds.
All-nighters are coming back to haunt Americans
The survey also discovered respondents were most likely to report having pulled an all-nighter in the first years they began working after college. More than half the poll (54%) report staying awake for a whole night within this period of their life. Nearly half of respondents (49%) had done the same during college and 42 percent had to stay up all night when their child was a newborn.
While sleepless nights might have helped respondents get ahead when they first started working, many say they’re now feeling the long-term consequences. Fifty-three percent of American parents believe that prolonged periods of nighttime awakeness have damaged their ability to sleep in the long term.
“For the nights when you need a little extra help, finding a supplement with a blend of sleep-enhancing ingredients makes it more effective than melatonin-only options,” the SugarBear expert explains. “Look for supplements that include Magnesium to help aid in the body’s production of melatonin, L-Theanine, 5-HTP, Valerian Root and Lemon Balm Leaf, which contain antioxidants to support a calm, relaxed mood.”