Sleep as a Priority
Despite its importance, sleep is not top of mind for most people in prioritizing their personal activities. As noted, asked which of five items is most important to them, 10 percent pick sleep, compared with 35 percent for physical fitness and nutrition, 27 percent who select their work and 17 percent who cite hobbies and personal interests. Nine percent pick their social life.
People who struggle the most with sleep are likeliest to name it as their key concern; 19 percent in the lowest quarter for sleep health call it most important to them, compared with 7 percent of others. The average Sleep Health Index score among those picking sleep as their chief concern is significantly lower than it is among all others, 68 vs. 77. Other gaps are fairly muted. Thirteen percent of women pick sleep as most important, compared with 7 percent of men; and it’s 12 percent among those 40 and older, vs. 6 percent of those younger than 40. In all cases, sleep trails other concerns.
There are group differences among the other priorities as well. Concern with fitness and nutrition peaks among seniors (58 percent) and those with diagnosed sleep disorders (44 percent). Three groups are most apt to prioritize work: Hispanics (44 percent), younger adults (38 percent) and men (33 percent). And young people and singles are more focused on their social life.
The top two priorities among those tested, fitness/nutrition and work, generally have positive impacts on sleep health, as noted in previous Sleep Health Index studies. Being healthy and being employed are associated with better sleep overall.
Planning Your Z’s
Sleep lags in planning as well as priority. An overwhelming 90 percent of Americans say their day starts when they get up, rather than with their sleep the night before. And when planning their day, 60 percent generally don’t take into account how much sleep they’ll need the night before.
Just 20 percent do this very often; an additional 20 percent, “somewhat” often. This result is highly related to age. Sixty percent of young adults (age 18-29) often take sleep into account when planning their day, vs. just 21 percent of seniors, with those in the middle falling between.
A possible factor is that young adults tend to have more variable sleep schedules to begin with; on average, they spend nearly two hours more in bed on weekends than on weekdays, compared with just over an hour among those 30 and older.
Planning for sleep, like prioritizing it, is linked to sleep challenges. Forty-six percent of poorer sleepers (based on Sleep Health Index scores) often plan for their sleep, compared to 33 percent of better sleepers. Again, these results stand up to statistical analysis: Controlling for demographics, sleep health independently predicts taking sleep into account when planning the next day.
At Alaska Sleep Clinic, your quality of sleep is our No. 1 priority. If you think you have sleep apnea, call now to speak with one of our board-certified sleep specialists.
METHODOLOGY – This survey for the National Sleep Foundation was conducted among a random national sample of 1,010 adults via landline and cell phone interviews Jan. 17-21, 2018. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.6 points for the full sample. The survey was produced for the National Sleep Foundation by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS of Glen Mills, Pa.