Hitting rock bottom: Americans get the least sleep at age 40

Augusta, J.A.; – Do you think the wild college years are when people get the least amount of sleep each night? Think again. A new study finds that Americans actually see less immersion at age 40 than they do at any other point in their lives.

Fortunately, a team from the Medical College of Georgia says things are getting better as people get older, with Americans sleeping more after age 60. The study discovered a U-shaped curve in sleep patterns in the country, where young children sleep the most, before sleep begins to decline between the ages of 10 and 50. And eventually, the pattern fades around the age of 40, as Americans sleep the fewest hours each night.

Despite the lack of sleep, researchers have found that sleep efficiency actually stabilizes between the ages of 30 and 60. The team examined sleep data from more than 11,000 people over the age of six participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES. The researchers collected data between 2011 and 2014. The survey also marks the first time 24-hour accelerometer data has been available for a nationally representative sample of Americans.

Each person wore these tracking devices on their wrists for seven consecutive days. Although it doesn’t directly measure sleep time, the devices track movement, providing researchers with an idea of ​​whether or not a person is asleep.

“We confirmed previous results based on subjective measurement,” Dr. Shaoyong Su says in a university statement. People think that kids and teens sleep late and we’ve found this. And during middle age, people sleep less, and our results objectively support this.”

Our golden years are really golden

The study authors say that increased sleep time later in life likely reflects the tendency of many Americans to retire around age 60. Simply put, retirees don’t have to get up early anymore. However, the investigators add that health problems during aging may also contribute to this.

As for younger working adults, the study found that many sleep “efficiently” even if they haven’t slept for a long time. In fact, 85 percent of participants had good sleep efficiency — or the time you actually sleep versus the time you allocate to sleep each night.

“People traditionally think that sleep efficiency declines directly with age, but we found that there is a stable period, from ages 30 to 60, with quite stable sleep efficiency,” says Dr. Xiaoling Wang.

Who will stay up late?

The team found that women generally sleep longer than men throughout their lives, but they also tend to sleep in later at night — especially as they get older. Women also experience more interrupted sleep, especially if they are mothers. However, the average American woman sleeps four minutes longer than a man.

It may come as no surprise that 20-year-olds have the most recent time clock to start falling asleep, or CTSO. It is also not surprising that high school students have the largest difference between the day of the week and the weekend CTSO.

It turns out that the peak of CTSO comes around age 21, when young adults stay awake until 11:30 p.m. on average. While this may be late enough, the researchers note that they already thought it would be later. In addition, the researchers found that one in four children aged six to 13 had CTSO near 11 p.m. Once people start to break out of their “party years,” the team says the sleep-time measurement curve shifted in the other direction.

“You’ve been through the years raising kids while you work and what happens around the time you retire? Your entire schedule begins to change,” explains co-author of the study, Dr. Von McCall.

McCall adds that once it’s time to retire, bedtimes start getting late again.

Not all Americans get the same amount of good sleep

The study also revealed that black Americans have some of the most disturbing sleep patterns. This includes going to bed later, sleeping less, and getting less rest. For the first time, the study authors found that Mexican Americans fell asleep earlier and slept longer, but that doesn’t mean effective sleep.

“One thing we can’t overstate is the effect of sleep,” says Wang. Without enough sleep, “You’re overusing your body.”

The researchers add that your ability to adapt to poor sleep declines with age. McCall says doctors need to listen to sleep complaints from patients, as they may be a sign of mental or physical health problems.

“I think what these sleep standards mean in relation to people’s health is that if you’re a doctor or other caregiver, and patients come in with some sort of complaint about their sleep, you need to interpret what they’re telling you in light of their stage of life and their potential sleep patterns.”

“I don’t necessarily view our findings as a benchmark for optimal health,” McCall says. “I look at this as a benchmark for what’s happening in America.”

The results appear in the journal Scientific Reports.

Leave a Comment