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Sleep Health

Narrative

Just like good nutrition and physical activity, adequate sleep is vital to healthy functioning and well-being. Inadequate sleep increases the likelihood of occupational errors and motor vehicle accidents and is also linked to various chronic conditions including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and depression.1 In addition to competing demands and insufficient time for sleep, conditions such as insomnia and sleep apnea (sleep-disordered breathing) can also contribute to poor sleep quality.2

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7–9 hours of sleep per day.3 In 2008–2010, about 70 percent of women and men reported getting an adequate amount of sleep, defined as 8 or more hours for persons aged 18–21 years of age and 7 or more hours for those aged 22 years or older. Among both women and men, the probability of getting adequate sleep generally increased with age for both women and men and was highest among those aged 65 years and older (75.6 and 80.1 percent, respectively). By contrast, only about 63 percent of young adults aged 18–24 years reported getting an adequate amount of sleep.

Among women, single mothers were least likely to report getting adequate hours of sleep (60.1 percent), followed by single women without children (67.1 percent). Women who were married or cohabitating without children and those in two-parent families were more likely to get a sufficient amount of sleep (76.1 and 72.1 percent, respectively).

Adequate sleep also varied by poverty status and race and ethnicity. Fewer than two-thirds (64.4 percent) of women living in households with incomes below the poverty level had sufficient hours of sleep, compared to nearly three-quarters of women living in households with incomes of 400 percent or more of poverty (73.4 percent; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). With respect to race and ethnicity, non-Hispanic Black women were less likely than women of other racial and ethnic groups to get adequate hours of sleep (62.8 percent compared to about 70 percent of other women; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

1 Institute of Medicine. Sleep disorders and sleep deprivation: an unmet public health problem. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2006.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Accessed 10/22/12.

3 National Sleep Foundation. How much sleep do we really need? Accessed 10/22/12.

Graphs

Data

Adequate Sleep* Among Adults Aged 18 and Older, by Age and Sex, 2008-2010
Age Group Percent of Adults
Female Male
*Defined as reporting an average of 8 or more hours of sleep per day for persons aged 18-21 years and 7 or more hours for persons aged 22 years and older; total estimates are age-adjusted. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey with multiply imputed poverty data, 2008-2010. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Total 69.8 69.9
18-24 Years 63.3 62.6
25-44 Years 70.7 68.3
45-64 Years 68.1 69.3
65 or Older 75.6 80.1
Adequate Sleep* Among Adults Aged 18 and Older, by Family Structure and Sex, 2008-2010
Family Structure Percent of Adults
Female Male
*Defined as reporting an average of 8 or more hours of sleep per day for persons aged 18-21 years and 7 or more hours for persons aged 22 years and older; estimates are age-adjusted.
**Includes at least one child under 18 years of age. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey with multiply imputed poverty data, 2008-2010. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Single 67.1 67.5
Single Parent Family** 60.1 57.7
Married or Cohabitating Couple 76.1 72.6
Two Parent Family** 72.1 70.9