Sleep—wasted time or welcome rest?
New BSC sleep research sheds light on Americans’ love-hate relationship with slumber
Sleep research conducted by the Better Sleep Council shows Americans are conflicted about sleep: A majority of people understand sleep is necessary to recharge, restore and refresh, but their feelings toward sleep are split.
The survey, conducted in April in support of the BSC’s annual “May is Better Sleep Month” campaign, reveals that the way sleep is framed influences the way people feel about it. When asked about the importance of sleep, only 2% said sleep was a waste of time. But negative feelings became more prominent when people were told how much of their lives are spent asleep. For example, when told they will spend an average of one-third of their lives sleeping, 15% of respondents felt negatively about the amount of time “wasted” on sleep. When told they will have slept for roughly 20 years by the time they reach age 60, 33% of respondents were dismayed they were “about to waste 20 years” of their lives.
“The research clearly shows that what we understand about sleep versus how we feel about it is polarizing—and that has profound ramifications for how Americans treat the importance of sleep,” says Mary Helen Uusimaki, BSC vice president of marketing and communications. The BSC is the consumer-education arm of the International Sleep Products Association. “Spending one-third of your life sleeping is not a negative; it’s a biological need. Those that feel time is being wasted on sleep will be more likely to cheat themselves out of the seven to nine hours they need to make their waking hours more healthy, productive and enjoyable.”
According to the research, millennials are more likely to think spending 20 out of 60 years sleeping is a waste of time (30%), compared with Generation X (23%) and baby boomers (21%).
There is some hope, however, as 33% of respondents had no concerns about spending one-third of their lives sleeping and another 24% felt sleep is necessary to recharge.
“I love sleep—it and I are very good friends and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend one-third of my life than snuggled into my mattress,” one survey respondent said. Another added: “I like sleep. I think it’s refreshing and a worthy cause. Even if I’m not asleep, I prefer to be in bed and cozy anyway.”