Sleep and the American Family
Earlier this year, the National Sleep Foundation released the results of the 2024 Sleep in America poll. The topic of this year’s poll was Sleep in the American Family and the findings are unlikely to surprise many people. Overall, American families are struggling to get enough sleep and the root cause are electronics and over scheduling.
This year’s study includes responses from more than 1,000 adults. Each participant had at least one child between the ages of 6 and 17 that was currently living in their home and the questions answered were about both the sleep of the parents and the children. Families of different sizes were represented in the study with the largest group having 2 children. The findings were not necessarily surprising although there were some interesting results to some of the questions.
The good news is that American families understand how important sleep is to good health. The bad news is this doesn’t seem to be making a real difference in terms of getting the necessary amount of quality sleep on a regular basis.
Here is a breakdown of some of the other findings:
- One of the main reasons families aren’t getting enough sleep is evening activities that extend the day and interfere with getting enough sleep.
- Technology in the bedroom is another leading cause of our lack of sleep. Amongst the respondents, the majority of parents and children sleep in close proximity to at least one electronic device. Half of all parents and children in the survey have two or more electronic devices in their bedroom.
- Parental attitudes toward sleep and sleep habits have a significant impact on how children sleep
- The willingness or unwillingness of parents to set or enforce rules around sleep also impacts the amount of sleep children get on average.
- Even though 90% of parents felt that sleep was important for health and well-being, only 45% of young children are getting the amount of sleep recommended for their age.
- The stats are worse for older children where less than a third of those aged 12-14 are getting the recommended 9 hours of sleep each night and more than half of the 15-17 year olds were sleeping less than 7 hours a night.
- As if it wasn’t bad enough that children are getting less sleep than they need, the survey also showed that the sleep they are getting is not always high quality sleep.
- Sadly, the story for parents is even less positive. Amongst respondents, only 13% reported that their sleep was excellent.
- Busy schedules were the most common problem parents pointed to as the root cause of any sleep problems their family was experiencing.
- Evening activities like homework were cited most frequently as the biggest sleep challenge.
Perhaps the most important finding, however, is that parents can positively impact the sleep habits of their children. The best ways to do this are to model healthy sleep habits and enforce rules around bedtime and the use of electronics at night.
- Everything You Need to Know to Help Children Get a Good Night Sleep (valleysleepcenter.com)
- The Answer to How Much Sleep You Need May Be in Your Genes (valleysleepcenter.com)
- 5 Things to Try Tonight for a Good Night’s Sleep (valleysleepcenter.com)