US Adults Report Long-Term Sleep Deprivation, Frequent Sleep Disturbances

Researchers found US adults to have variable sleep habits and to suffer from long-term sleep deprivation and chronic social jet lag.

In the United States, adults were found to have variable sleep habits between work and nonwork days, long-term sleep deprivation, chronic social jet lag, and frequent sleep disturbances, according to results of a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Investigators from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China sourced data for this study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) collected between 2017 and 2020 in the US. Trends in sleep habits were evaluated among adults (N=9004) aged ≥20 years.

The study population comprised individuals aged 20-39 (36.1%) and 40-59 (34.0%) years, 51.9% were women, 62.8% were White, 62.4% had some college or above, 40.7% had a ratio of family income to poverty of ≥3.50, 47.3% were employed full time (≥35 h/wk), and 26.7% had a traditional 9:00 to 5:00 work schedule.

In general, adults reported a mean sleep duration that was shorter on workdays compared with nonworkdays (mean, 7.59 vs 8.24 h; P <.001), an earlier sleep time (11:02 pm vs 11:25 pm; P <.001), and earlier wake time (mean, 6:41 vs 7:41 am; P <.001), respectively.

In 2017 to 2020, US adults showed variability in sleep habits across a week, with longer sleep duration and later sleep-wake phase on free days.

The average sleep debt was 0.73 hour, in which 30.5% of adults accumulated ≥1 hour of sleep debt per week and 9.75% ≥2 hours per week. Similarly, the average social jet lag was 1.10 hours, in which 46.5% and 19.3% accumulated ≥1 and ≥2 hours of social jet lag per week, respectively.

Over a quarter of adults reported trouble sleeping (29.8%) and daytime sleepiness (27.2%).

In the fully adjusted analysis, trouble sleeping was associated with family income to poverty ratio (P =.03) and daytime sleepiness was associated with age (P <.001) and family income to poverty ratio (P <.001).

This study may have included recall bias, as participants were asked to recall sleep habits rather than objective measurements.

The study authors concluded, “In 2017 to 2020, US adults showed variability in sleep habits across a week, with longer sleep duration and later sleep-wake phase on free days. A high percentage of US adults experienced long-term sleep deprivation, chronic social jet lag, and frequent sleep disturbances. These findings provide evidence to further investigate potential approaches to optimize the overall US sleep health.”

References:

Di H, Guo Y, Daghlas I, et al. Evaluation of sleep habits and disturbances among US adults, 2017-2020. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(11):e2240788. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.40788