25 Numbers That Will Convince You to Prioritize Sleep

Even when it comes to sleep, the numbers don’t lie. Sleep is so critically important to our health and well-being that it behooves us to learn about sleep, consistently get the sleep we need, protect the sleep of others, and help spread the word on the benefits of sufficientsleep.

Sleep affects all of us in so many ways: our health, our work, our safety, our education, our achievements and our successes —even our collective quality of life. And with the proliferation of sleep research available, there is no need to wonder if sleep really matters. The numbers prove just how much sleep impacts our lives.

The following list highlights some important numbers to be aware of when it comes to a healthy sleep lifestyle:

  • 1/3: According to the Centers for Disease Control, “A third of U.S. adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep.”
  • 1/3: “Teen drivers who get less than eight hours of sleep nightly are one-third more likely to crash than teens who get eight or more hours of sleep per night.”
  • 1: In a study of over 4,500 children ages nine and ten in Britain, “Children who slept on average one hour longer per night than others in the study had lower fasting glucose, lower insulin resistance, and a lower body mass index than the children who slept an hour less.”
  • 5: According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who sleep less than five hours increase their risk of being involved in a car crash four to five times.
  • 6: Research published in February of 2017 found that sleeping six hours or less for two consecutive nights are associated with performance decrements lasting for a six-day period.
  • 7–9: The National Sleep Foundation’s recommendations for appropriate sleep durations for adults ages 26 to 64.
  • 25: Most studies show a 9 1/4 hours sleep requirement for teens.
  • 10: Approximately 10 percent of people have chronic insomnia—defined as insomnia at least three times per week and lasting for at least three months.
  • 13: The estimated percentage of workplace injuries that can be attributed to fatigue.
  • 9: According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) it is estimated that sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, and sleepiness add $15.9 billion to the national health care bill annually.
  • 17–33: Students with grades of B’s or better got 17 to 33 minutes more sleep on school nights than students with C’s and below.
  • 30–35: As many as 30 to 35 percent of adults complain of insomnia, which can negatively impact work performance, relationships, and decision-making.
  • 37: According to the National Safety Council, more than 37 percent of workers are sleep-deprived.
  • 40: A child will spend 40 percent of his or her childhood asleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
  • 70: Seventy percent of college students attain insufficient sleep; daytime sleepiness, sleep deprivation, and irregular sleep schedules are prevalent in this group.
  • 85: “Up to 85 percent of people with treatment-resistant hypertension have sleep apnea.”
  • 2,000: It is estimated that narcolepsy affects 1 in every 2,000 people in the United States. Symptoms include sleep paralysis, disrupted nighttime sleep, sleep attacks, excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy (a sudden loss of muscle tone caused by strong emotion) and hallucinations.
  • 2,500: There are more than 2,500 American Academy of Sleep Medicine-accredited sleep facilities in the United States.
  • 5,000: The National Safety Council reports that in 2014, more than 5,000 people died in drowsy-driving related crashes.
  • 100,000: A conservative estimate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the yearly number of police-reported crashes that are the direct result of driver fatigue.
  • 12,000,000: Restless legs syndrome (RLS), which makes it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, may affect as many as 12 million people in the United States.
  • 30,000,000: The approximate number of adults in the U.S. affected by sleep apnea, most of which goes untreated. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep, causing lower oxygen levels and increases in blood pressure, resulting in strain on the heart.
  • 70,000,000: The number of Americans who suffer from sleep problems; among them, nearly 60 percent have a chronic disorder.
  • 90,000,000: A major cause of sleep disruption is snoring, which affects as many as 90 million American adults—and 37 million on a regular basis.
  • 411,000,000,000: Because of a lack of sleep, the U.S. workforce sustains an economic loss of approximately $411 billion per year (as well as a loss of 1.2 million working days per year).

When it comes to sleep, it pays to know your numbers. Sufficient sleep provides us with innumerable benefits that all add up to a better life. So make it a point today to get the sleep you need on a daily basis because the numbers don’t lie. The more we know about sleep, the more likely we are to prioritize it—and the better off we all are.


Blogger: Terry Cralle, MS, RN


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