Updated September 18, 2014

Sleep Statistics: Why You Need More Shut-Eye

How to do it and where you'll see the benefits

Quality sleep or lack thereof can affect all facets of your life: academic performance, career, health, and your safety on the road. Frequent drowsiness can basically hijack your life. By making it a priority to get enough quality sleep, you can give yourself an edge – on life. Keep reading to find tips on how to get a roundtrip to dreamland.

The Rundown on Sleep

of adults say they occasionally do not get enough sleep.

Nearly 10%
experience chronic insomnia.

10-11 hours
of sleep each day is needed for children 5-10 years of age.

9.5 hours
is the average (median) number of hours of sleep school-age children get each night.

8.5-9.25 hours
is needed for those between 10-17 years of age.

of high school students get at least 8 hours of sleep per day.

7-9 hours
of nightly ZZZs are needed for adults.

Nearly 30%
of adults get 6 or less hours of sleep per day.

(Source: CDC, National Sleep Foundation, CDC National Health Interview Survey)

The Downside of Drowsiness: Danger on the Road

  • 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries in the U.S. are attributed each year to drowsy driving.
  • 4.7% of people admit nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the past month.
    People Most at Risk:
  • Men age 16-29
  • Shift workers who work at night or irregular hours
  • People with untreated sleep apnea or narcolepsy
    Other Common Risks:
  • Driving between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Driving long periods of time without taking a break
  • Using sedatives
  • Having an unrecognized or untreated sleep disorder
  • Consuming alcohol, which adds to drowsiness

(Source: DOT, CDC)

The Pitfalls of Poor Sleep

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep increases the risk of the following diseases.

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular diseases, most notably:
    • Hypertension
    • Stroke
    • Coronary heart disease
    • Cardiac arrhythmias
    • Atherosclerosis
  • Excess body weight
  • Depression

Common sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia: The inability to fall asleep or maintain sleep
  • Narcolepsy: Excessive daytime sleepiness accompanied by sudden muscle weakness
  • Restless legs syndrome: A creeping sensation accompanied by aches and pains in the legs
  • Sleep apnea: Involuntary cessation of breathing while sleeping

Exercise and Sleep

It’s hard to ignore the link between exercise and sleep. Those who work out during the day rest easy at night, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep in America poll. The following results show the level of sleep success people attain based on the level of exercise they do.

Vigorous to Moderate ExercisersLight ExercisersNon-Exercisers
Have a good night's sleep most work nights67% - 58%56%39%
Rarely or never have woke up too early and could not fall asleep again72% - 65%61%58%
Experience excessive sleepiness12% - 15%13%24%
Have trouble staying awake while driving, eating, and socializing at least once a week4% - 6%5%14%

Gender Differences (National Sleep Foundation’s 2012 Bedroom Poll)

  • 27% of women are disturbed by their partner's movement vs. 16% of men.
  • 41% of women are disturbed by their partner's snoring vs. 23% of men.

Helpful Hints for Hitting the Sack

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Don't eat large meals or foods that make you restless before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Steer clear of nicotine.

While there are many ways to get a better night’s sleep, such as buying new pillows or mattress, don’t overlook the possibility of a sleeping disorder. Consult a physician if you suspect you may have a serious problem.


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • National Sleep Foundation
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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