Weekend Poll Results: Assistants Could Use More Sleep

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

Almost three out of every four respondents reported that you don’t typically get enough sleep! A modest 26% of respondents reported that you do get enough sleep.

How does that break down? Nine percent of respondents said you typically get less than five hours a night, while more than a third of you (36%) reported typically getting five to six hours of shut eye on weeknights. Only 17% reported that you sleep more than seven hours on weeknights.

Do you wake up tired, or refreshed?

Thirty-six percent of respondents said that you wake up feeling refreshed. That’s close to the percentage of readers (33%) who said you typically follow routines to ensure a good night’s sleep.

What can you do?

If you’re like the reader who dropped me a note to comment on sleep being a luxury with little ones, you may just need to ride out this stage. Just as a good night’s rest is important for good health, health conditions can also impact sleep patterns.

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 example. This is the fourth consecutive year I’ve posed sleep-related questions in my Weekend Polls. The percentage of readers who report typically checking your phones or other electronic media after turning out the lights has continued to rise since 2016. In 2019, a full 29% of you reported checking these devices. Sixty-nine percent of respondents sleep within six feet/two meters of your phones. 

Routines

You’ll find some suggestions below from your counterparts who’ve estabished good routines. One reader mentioned listening to bedtime stories. I’m not sure if that reader was thinking of this type but, if all else fails, you may want to know that it’s not just kids who avail themselves of the BBC’s CBeebies Bedtime Stories. The list of actors who narrate these stories is impressive; you’ll find one that I like below … as well as all the data!

THE DATA

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.

Forty-five percent of respondents assigned a “1” rating. Only 9% gave the highest possible rating, while 45.5% of you gave your state of rest a “2” rating.

2. Do you think you typically get sufficient sleep? 

  • Yes: 26% of respondents, compared to 37% in 2018, 35% in 2017 and 20.75%  in 2016
  • No: 74%of respondents, compared to 63% in 2018, 65% in 2017 and 79.25% in 2016

3. Do you typically exercise after 7:00 p.m.?

10% of respondents said yes, while 90% said no.

4. Do you intentionally refrain from eating after a certain point in the evening?

60% of respondents said yes, compared to 61% of you in 2018, 56% in 2017 and 44% in 2016.

5. How many hours of sleep do you typically get on weeknights? 

  • <5 hours: 9% of respondents, compared to 8% in 2018, 4% in 2017 and  2% in 2016
  • 5 -6 hours: 36% of respondents, compared to 48% in 2018, 44% in both 2017 and 2016
  • 6 – 7 hours: 38% of respondents, compared to 19% in 2018, 33% in 2017 and 27% in 2016
  • 7 – 8 hours: 17% of respondents, compared to 13% in both 2018 and 2017, and 9.5% in 2016
  • > 8 hours: 0% of respondents, compared to 2% in 2018, 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.

  • 23% watch TV, compared to 80% of respondents in 2018, 78% in 2017 and 85% in 2016
  • 14% read, compared to 67% in 2018, 29% in 2017 and 63% in 2016
  • 4% eat
  • 18% go online, 37% in 2018, 80%  in 2017 and 75% in 2016 (in prior years, I identified this response option as “use their iPad/tablet”)
  • 13% check email, compared to 57% in 2018
  • 8% respond to their email, compared to 35% in 2018
  • 17% check their online calendars, compared to 37% in 2018
  • 9% check others’ social media posts, compared to 83% in 2018
  • 4% post to social media, compared to 52% in 2018

  7. Do you typically sleep within six feet/two meters of your phone?

  •  Yes: 69% of respondents, compared to 73% in 2018, 65% in 2017 and 65% in 2016
  • No: 31% of respondents, compared to 27% in 2018, 29% in 2017 and 33% in 2016 

8. Do you typically check your phone or other electronic media after turning out the lights?

  • Yes: 31% of respondents, compared to 29% in 2018, 22% in 2017 and 26% in 2016
  • No: 69% of respondents, compared to 71% in 2018, 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 33% in 2018, 54% in 2017 and 47% in 2016
  • No: 67% of respondents, compared to 67% in 2018, 46% in 2017 and 49% in 2016

10. Do you typically wake up refreshed, or tired?  

  • Tired: 64% of respondents, compared to 73% in both 2018 and 2017, and 78% in 2016
  • Refreshed: 36% of respondents, compared to 22% in both 2018 and 2017, and 16% in 2016

11. If you take transit to work, do you tend to nap during the journey?  

  • Yes: 32% of respondents, compared to 14% of respondents in 2018 and 21%  in 2017 
  • No: 68% of respondents, compared to 86% in 2018 and 79% in 2017 

12. Do you typically follow routines to support a good night’s sleep?

  • Yes: 29% of respondents, compared to 33% of respondents in 2018  
  • No: 71% of respondents, compared to 67% of respondents in 2018

13. I asked readers who have adopted such routines to identify them. Here’s what they offered.  

  • Go to bed and get up (at the) same time every day including weekends; no electronics, eat before 7:00 p.m., use a sleep app for meditation and to get to sleep.
  • Lunch packed, bags ready to go for the next day.  Clothes selected.  Jammies put on … then I can watch a little tv, read, etc.
  • I love to read before calling it a night, and enjoy doing some gentle stretching.
  • Dim lighting
  • Listen to sleep stories
  • Pat dogs and settle them down, meditation / prayer
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Certain natural meds to help, neck exercises
  • Go to bed at the same time every night, give or take 30 minutes during the week, one hour later at the weekend.
  • Adjust room temperature (down), wear sleepwear with cool fabric, use comfortable pillow, quiet house (but can’t do anything about snoring spouse and dogs who bark to go out during night)
  • Listen to music
  • Read before bed. Go to bed at a consistent time.
  • Meditate.
  • I need to read before sleep, try to settle in about 30 minutes before my self-imposed “deadline” to get 8 hours. I usually fall asleep within that time … but I figure if the book is really good and I read too long, I’ll probably still get 7 hours and be okay! 🙂
  • Getting ready for bed each night at 9:00 p.m. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on what I need to finish up.
  • Relaxation music
  • I try to stay away from my electronics for the last hour or so before sleep.

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