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Americans Sleep the Least in Their 40s — New Study Finds

written by / June 24, 2022
Americans Sleep the Least in Their 40s

A new study conducted by the Medical College of Georgia reveals a disturbing trend — Americans sleep their shortest hours during their fourth decade.

The massive study reviewed data from more than 11,000 people of different age groups (6+). Namely, the data was collected over a three-year period (between 2011–2014) by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

To everyone’s surprise, the data did, in fact, reveal some interesting results. For instance, researchers discovered a U-shaped curve with people’s sleep patternschildren slept the most, whereas those between the ages of 10 and 50 slept far less, peaking at 40.

Fortunately for us, the curve increases yet again once we reach 60 — truly our golden years, at least when sleep is concerned. Researchers believe one possible reason for this could be the decrease in sleep deprivation tolerance. The more likely scenario is having more free time due to retirement.

Moreover, sleep efficiency slowly stabilizes between the ages of 30 and 60. So despite sleeping less when we reach the fourth decade, we require fewer hours to feel fresh and rejuvenated.

On the other hand, this is also the decade in people’s lives where we use prescription pills the most. 

21-years olds went to bed the latest out of all age groups (11:30 PM, on average), which shocked researchers as they expected later hours. Bedtime would, of course, decline with age due to increased working life obligations, only to peak again at the age of 60+.

Yet another surprise was that women sleep longer than men, on average, and go to bed later at night; particularly as they get older.

Last but not least, Black Americans had the most troublesome sleep patterns — they went to bed later, slept less, and got less efficient sleep than other groups.

Marija Kovachevska is a content writer at, Biochemist and Activist. After obtaining her BSc in Biochemistry and Physiology she changed her microscope for content research tools and continued researching in the fields of Medicine, Biology, and Communication. Her insatiable curiosity flare drove her to become a “content scientist writer” as she likes to say. Reality fascinates her and facts and statistics are a must-have feature in her articles. Fluent in English and French, she is a volunteer and communication associate for several non-profit organizations. French culture and handcrafting are her passion, but in her free time, she indulges in long walks and traveling, or as she likes to say “experiencing the inexperienced.”

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