March 29, 2005 -- When it comes to sleeping habits, a new study shows Americans are like night and day. About half have generally healthy habits but the other half struggle to get a good night's sleep.
For the first time, researchers at the National Sleep Foundation used information from their annual Sleep in America Poll to divide American adults into five distinct sleep profiles based on their sleeping habits.
Nearly half (48%) of the poll respondents fell into one of two "good sleeper" categories, while the other 52% fell into three "not so good" sleeper profiles. Researchers say people should identify the group that best describes them and look for ways to improve their sleeping habits.
The five groups are based on more than 40 factors including how many hours slept per night, frequency of experiencing a sleep problem, how often they feel tired, number of caffeinated beverages consumed daily, and other sleep-related habits.
The five sleep categories include:
Healthy, Lively Larks
This is the largest as well as the youngest of the five sleeper profile categories, accounting for 27% of the poll respondents with an average age of 45. They are least likely to be affected by sleep problems, either of their own or their spouse/partner.
- Most (75%) say they usually get a good night's sleep.
- Two-thirds say they get more sleep than they need, and most never/rarely feel tired/fatigued.
- Most are married/partnered and working full time at regular day shifts.
- They consider themselves "morning people" ("larks"), and 77% of them are up by 7 a.m. during the week.
- They fall asleep faster than the other groups, with 65% reporting that they fall asleep in less than 15 minutes.
The oldest of the five groups with an average age of 60, this group represents about 21% of adults. They get the most sleep of any group, averaging 7.3 hours per night compared to 6.8 overall.
- Nearly three-quarters (74%) say they get a good night's sleep on most nights.
- Nearly half (46%) take two or more naps during the week.
- Most never/rarely feel tired/fatigued (69%).
- Many have been diagnosed with at least one medical condition; they do not feel they have a sleep problem and are less likely than other groups to be at risk for any sleep disorder.
- People in this group are the most likely to be retired (51%) and least likely to be employed (30%); two-thirds are female.