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Our Obsession with Sleep

E-commerce mattress and furniture company Zinus ahs released the results of the “Sleep Anxiety America…

  • September 19, 2019

E-commerce mattress and furniture company Zinus ahs released the results of the “Sleep Anxiety America Survey,” which looked at the sleep habits of over 5,000 US adults to determine whether they have become obsessed with sleep, and to ascertain the costs of this obsession—both monetary and psychological.

The results reveal a nationwide sleep deficit with Americans sleeping just 6.4 hours a night (compared to the recommended 7-9 hours).

Not surprisingly, we crave more: Over a third of people feel stressed about the amount of sleep they’re getting (women more so than men), and a similar number even have trouble falling asleep because of that stress.

All in all, only 2 in 5 Americans are happy with their sleeping habits.

To compensate, Americans have gone on a bleary-eyed buying spree with 76 percent having purchased a sleep aid and spending almost $200 a year on sleep improvement products like supplements and blackout curtains.

And this does not include the biggest ticket item, the mattress, on which Americans spend an average of $802.

Those who buy high-end mattresses with special technology spend well over $1,000. What’s concerning is that these expenditures don’t seem to actually help. Of those who have shelled out big bucks for a special mattress, less than half are satisfied with their sleep.

This indicates deeper hang-ups with sleep that can’t be solved—and may even be exacerbated—by the various gadgets and extra layers of memory foam we’ve let the sleep industry convince us are necessary.

So what is keeping us up at night? The survey indicates it’s much more complicated than that lump in your pillow, and that worry is a big factor. Here are the top five worries that have Americans tossing and turning:

  1. “The future in general”
  2. “My health”
  3. “Embarrassing or regrettable things I’ve done in the past”
  4. “The health of my family or friends”
  5. “My performance at work/school”

In fact, worry keeps more people up at night (55%) than an uncomfortable mattress (29%). And this begs the question: Why are Americans spending large sums of money on sleep-related paraphernalia that won’t ultimately result in more Zz’s?

Other findings from the survey include:

Sleep is considered more important by people who live in Dallas-Fort Worth (91%) than to people who live in LA (84%) and NYC (80%). And it’s fitting that the “city that never sleeps” spends the least amount of money on mattresses ($655), whereas LA and Dallas-Fort Worth spend an average of $893 and $860, respectively.

Men dream more than women about flying and being naked in public. Women dream more than men about teeth falling out and being chased.

When it comes to what will happen if you get too little or too much sleep, the most common worry across the board is depression, but CEOs worry most about shorter life expectancy.

And dispelling the myth that the most successful people only sleep a few hours a night, CEOs sleep the same number of hours as the average American (6.4).

They’re also more likely to sleep the whole night without waking up and more likely to fall asleep quickly. (Must be nice, right?)

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