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National Sleep Foundation - 2020 Sleep in America Poll

Feel Tired?

The annual Sleep in America® poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation shows individuals feel tired on average a few times weekly, with 62% responding they simply try to "shake it off."

The National Sleep Foundation has been conducting a national poll since 1991 that catalogues the state of sleep in individuals in the U.S. This poll offers the sleep community and general public valuable information on certain topics of interest, like:

  • Women and sleep
  • Children and sleep
  • Technology and sleep

Everyone is encouraged to prioritize their sleep to optimize and better their health.

The Sleep in America® poll compares sleep habits, attitudes, bedtime routines, and times in people in:

  • The United States
  • Mexico
  • The United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Germany

It targets people between 25 and 55 years of age.

According to Collegeville Family Practice's physician, Dr. Paul Doghramji, he has patients in his office daily who don't know why they're always sleepy. It's a concern to see the number of sleepy individuals in the U.S. with no plan of tackling the problem, other than simply "shaking it off." 

The poll found when individuals feel sleepy, more of them say it's typically due to them not sleeping well (55%) rather than not having sufficient time to sleep (44%). Not obtaining the restorative advantage of sleep when you're providing yourself sufficient time to sleep can be a sign of other problems and shouldn't be ignored, says Georgetown University Hospital's Pediatric Neurologist, Dr. Temitayo Oyegbile-Chidi.

Most individuals report being able to sleep better in a bedroom with a good scent. This doesn't come as a surprise, since studies have shown scent does play a solid role in memory-building and relaxation. Having a relaxing bedroom routine and pleasant scent can contribute to a restful night's sleep. Regardless of your nationality, you're in bed around a third of your life, and a pleasant scent and fresh air are good ways of improving your sleep experience.

The poll also showed many individuals who are sleepy during the week also struggle with unpleasant side effects. For instance, around a half of the respondents who feel sleepy a minimum of five days each week say they have headaches. Forty percent report their sleepiness makes them irritable. Approximately a third of them say they typically feel unwell. Others claim sleep affects their ability to:

  • Perform at work
  • Focus
  • Complete daily tasks

Obtaining enough sleep is important for a good night's rest. Adults who are between 18 and 64 years old are recommended to obtain seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Those who are 65 years old and older should be obtaining seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

If you often feel sleepy during the day, you can take certain measures to ensure you obtain a better night's sleep. These include:

  • Minimizing exposure to natural light and noise while sleeping
  • Maintaining a comfortable temperature in your bedroom
  • Avoiding alcohol or caffeine before bedtime
  • Sleeping with a supportive pillow, comfortable mattress, and breathable sheets

And, if your mattress is old, sagging, and not comfortable, it’s time to upgrade your mattress, so you can get the quality sleep you need — and deserve.

Elizabeth Magill

Elizabeth Magill is a professional freelance writer and editor who holds an MBA. Liz specializes in writing about health news, medical conditions, healthy living, small business, career and work, personal finance, and green-living, including news and trending topics in these specialties. Her clients include Healthline, The Motley Fool, GoBanking Rates,, Big Interview, HealthNews, Intuit Small Business Blog, Intuit Health, American News Report,, IFX Medical, and many others. She’s also a published eBook author and ghost writer for various clients in the health, medical, career, small business, and personal finance niches.