Americans Sleep the Least in Their 40s — New Study Finds
written by/ June 24, 2022
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 patterns — children 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.