Sleep and Technology Don't Mix: Sleep Poll

Too Much Technology and Caffeine, Too Little Sleep Plague Teens and Adults, Survey Finds

From the WebMD Archives

March 7, 2011 -- Devices meant to make life easier and more entertaining often make us sleepier, according to the latest poll by the National Sleep Foundation.

Sleep and technology don't mix, suggest the results of the 2011 Sleep in America poll. Using cell phones, computers, and video games just before bedtime -- and in the middle of the night, as teens and young adults say they often do -- is robbing many of much-needed shut-eye. That’s according to Russell Rosenberg, PhD, chair of the Sleep in America 2011 task force and director of The Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and Technology.

''This year's poll really does focus on the technology and electronic devices people are using, devices that have become ubiquitous in our society," he tells WebMD.

Besides the focus on our sleep-squashing love affair with technology, the poll found that many Americans are not happy with the quality of their sleep. And our coping mechanisms? Not ideal.

The new sleep poll follows studies released last week by the CDC finding a third of adults in the U.S. get less than seven hours of sleep a day, thus putting themselves at risk for serious health problems.

Sleep Poll: 2011 Edition

The survey has been taken annually by the National Sleep Foundation since 1991. This year's survey included 1,508 responses, about half done by telephone and half online.

Respondents' ages ranged from 13 to 64, and they were categorized as:

  • Generation Z: aged 13-18
  • Generation Y: aged 19-29
  • Generation X: aged 30-45
  • Baby boomers: aged 46-64

The findings focused on:

Sleepiness. Teens are most likely to report sleepiness, the poll shows. About 22% of the teens got a ''sleepy'' rating when a standard assessment tool was used, as did 16% of the 19- to 29-year-olds. With age, the sleepy rating went down, but didn't disappear: 11% for people aged 30 to 45; and 9% for baby boomers.

Many said they never or rarely get a good night's sleep on weekdays -- ranging from 38% of boomers to 51% of people aged 19 to 29.

The average hours slept hovered around 7 hours for adults and a little more for teens. Teens averaged 7 hours, 26 minutes on a typical workday or school day; 19- to 29-year-olds got about 7 hours; 30- to 45-year-olds and boomers averaged a bit under 7 hours.