With thanks to all who participated, here are your responses to my question … Do you make sleep a priority?
Many of you need more sleep
You see the pie chart at the top of this article? It gives us a graphic representation of the percentage of readers who say they’re getting enough sleep. You’ll be unsurprised to learn that they’re represented by the smaller, blue slice of the pie.
In fact, only 37% of respondents reported typically getting enough sleep. If it’s any consolation, this percentage has been increasing a little bit each of the past three years – from 21% of you in 2016 to 35% in 2017, and then climbing another 2% this year.
Almost three out of every four respondents reported waking up tired. Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep a night, and 75% of respondents are managing on seven hours or less nightly. A full 48% of you reported sleeping between five and six hours nightly, and another 8% manage on less than five hours a night. At the other end of spectrum, 15% of respondents (compared to 18% in 2017) typically sleep seven or more hours on week nights.
Thoughts on sleep
Walter Reisch: “Tired minds don’t plan well. Sleep first, plan later.”
Fran Drescher: “Once you wake up and smell the coffee, it’s hard to go back to sleep.”
Francesca Annis: “Eat well and sleep well … as you get older, you look how you feel.”
What to do?
Readers are likely aware of advice to refrain from eating after a certain point in the early evening, or spending time on any electronics within the hour before you toddle off to bed. Sometimes, the trick is putting these practices into action.
Phones are one factor. This is the third consecutive year I’ve posed these questions, and the percentage of readers who sleep within six feet/two meters of your phones is on the rise – from 65% in 2016 and 2017 to 73% of you in 2018. Twenty-nine percent of respondents reported that you check your phone or other electronic media during the night, which is also up from 2017 and 2016.
Thirty-three percent of you have adopted evening routines to help support a good night’s rest, and some shared their strategies. Reading, music, meditation and consistent bedtimes all received repeat mentions. Incorporating routines may be easier said than done if you work late hours or have little ones to care for, but that makes adopting whatever routines you can all the more helpful! You’ll find the data below.
1. How well rested do you feel right now?
I asked readers to assign thumbs up ratings to how well rested they felt (or not) when they participated in this Weekend Poll. A “1” represented the lowest possible rating, while a “3” represented the best possible rating. Almost a third of respondents, 31%, assigned a “1” rating. Another 13% gave the highest possible rating, while 56% of you gave your state of rest a “2” rating.
2. Do you think you typically get sufficient sleep?
- Yes: 37% of respondents, compared to 35% in 2017 and 20.75% in 2016
- No: 63%of respondents, compared to 65% in 2017 and 79.25% in 2016
3. Do you typically exercise after 7:00 p.m.?
6% of respondents said yes, while 94% said no.
4. Do you intentionally refrain from eating after a certain point in the evening?
61% of respondents said yes, compared to 56% of you in 2017 and 44% in 2016.
5. How many hours of sleep do you typically get on weeknights?
- <5 hours: 8% of respondents, compared to 4% in 2017 and 2% in 2016
- 5 -6 hours: 48% of respondents, compared to 44% in both 2017 and 2016
- 6 – 7 hours: 19% of respondents, compared to 33% in 2017 and 27% in 2016
- 7 – 8 hours: 13% of respondents, compared to 13% in 2017 and 9.5% in 2016
- > 8 hours: 2% of respondents, compared to 6% in 2017 and 2% in 2016
6. I asked readers if you engage in the following activities during the hour before you turn out the lights. Here’s a snapshot.
- 80% watch TV, compared to 78% of respondents in 2017 and 85% in 2016
- 67% read, compared to 29% of respondents in 2017 and 63% in 2016
- 12% eat
- 37% use their computers, compared to 80% of respondents in 2017 and 75% in 2016
- 60% use their iPad/tablet, compared to 80% of respondents in 2017 and 75% in 2016
- 57% check email
- 35% respond to their email
- 37% check their online calendars
- 52% post to social media
- 83% check others’ social media posts
7. Do you typically sleep within six feet/two meters of your phone?
- Yes: 73% of respondents, compared to 65% in 2017 and 65% in 2016
- No: 27% of respondents, compared to 29% in 2017 and 33% in 2016
8. Do you typically check your phone or other electronic media after turning out the lights?
- Yes: 29% of respondents, compared to 22% in 2017 and 26% in 2016
- No: 71% of respondents, compared to 78% in 2017 and 71% in 2016
9. Do you typically follow routines to help ensure a good night’s sleep?
- Yes: 33% of respondents, compared to 54% in 2017 and 47% in 2016
- No: 67% of respondents, compared to 46% in 2017 and 49% in 2016
10. Do you typically wake up refreshed, or tired?
- Tired: 73% of respondents, compared to 73% in 2017 and 78% in 2016
- Refreshed: 22% of respondents, compared to 22% in 2017 and 16% in 2016
11. If you take transit to work, do you tend to nap during the journey?
- Yes: 14% of respondents, compared to 21% of respondents in 2017
- No: 86% of respondents, compared to 79% of respondents in 2017
12. Do you typically follow routines to support a good night’s sleep?
- Yes: 33% of respondents
- No: 67% of respondents
13. I asked readers who have adopted such routines to identify them. Here’s what they offered.
- Make the room dark as possible, dim lighting, put water by my bed and read just before turning the light off
- Read &/or mediate before sleep
- Always in bed by same time, lights out by 9, though the tv may be on, I’m out cold quick as I turn the light off.
- Meditation (this received a few mentions in isolation from combining it with other practices)
- Go to bed every night at the same time. Meditate for a while. Keep the room dark.
- I try (not always successfully) to avoid electronics the hour before sleep. I like to read, and also do a bit of gentle stretching.
- Try not to use devices in the 30-60 minutes before bed, go to bed and get up same time weekdays and weekend, don’t eat within two hours of bedtime, listen to self hypnosis app or calm sounds to get to sleep, reduced number of pillows.
- Listen to calm music with my headphones
- Same routine in bathroom, hot milky drink
- My cat helps me with that. Refilling the water bowl and cuddling.
- Relaxation music like waterfall, wind, rain
- No caffeine after 6 pm. Shower & put on fresh, warm PJs. Cuddle with pups. Crawl under fluffy comforter – year round.
- No coffee or sweet things in the evening
- Go to bedroom at 7:00 – get up at 4:10 am – try to be asleep by 8:00 – Do not eat past 6:30 – most times 6:00 PM (because of sleeping at 8) Play on i-pad from 7-8 to relax from my one-hour commute home