an analysis of data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) has suggested.
Many people living in the United States habitually sleep less than the recommended 7-9 hours each day. “Experimental studies have demonstrated that both acute total and chronic partial sleep restriction in healthy adults are associated with physiological changes that can be considered precursors of manifest diseases (e.g. decreased insulin sensitivity),” noted Mathias Basner, MD, PhD, and David F. Dinges, PhD, both of the division of sleep and chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in their paper, which was published in the journal.
The investigators analyzedresponses from 181,335 Americans aged 15 years and older; respondents included in the analysis were not active in the military or residing in institutions such as nursing homes or prisons. In 15- to 20-minute computer-assisted telephone interviews, the survey participants reported the activities they performed over a 24-hour period on a minute-by-minute basis. In-depth analyses only included groups “that showed a significant increase in sleep duration across survey years either on weekdays or weekends (or both): employed respondents, full-time students, and retirees.”
Using this data from ATUS, Dr. Basner and Dr. Dinges found that on workdays the prevalence of people who were sleeping 7 hours or less a day decreased by 0.44% per year (P less than .0001), while the percentage people who were sleeping more than 9 hours a day increased by 0.48% per year (P less than .0001).
Overall, respondents’ sleep increased by an average of 1.40 minutes during a weekday and 0.83 minutes during a weekend day every year.
These findings will be welcome news for organizations, such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Sleep Research Society, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that have been campaigning for years to increase sleep time among Americans.