By Danielle Moore // SWNS
Sixty-seven percent of adults say they haven’t had an uninterrupted night of sleep since they were a teenager, according to new research.
A new study of American parents who have attended college compared the difference between the phases of life in which respondents have lost sleep – intentionally or otherwise.
On average, respondents reported that they currently get a mere five hours of sleep per night – a far cry from the 7-9 hours recommended for adults by the National Sleep Foundation.
While COVID-19 has also taken a toll on parents’ restfulness, with over six in 10 respondents reporting they’ve had increased difficulty sleeping since the pandemic started, those college days may very well be to blame for starting the trend.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of SugarBear Sleep, the study examined the possible long-term effects of these different types of “sleepless years.”
When asked, in retrospect, about the period of their lives during which they felt they needed sleep the most, nearly four in 10 (38%) cited their college years, and 15% named their time as new parents.
On average, respondents said their quality of sleep started to decrease around the age of 23.
Catching up on sleep became more complicated around this time as well, as respondents reported that their ability to sleep in dropped off around age 25.
“The coming-of-age period – from high school to when you start your family – can be so tough to navigate from a sleep perspective,” said SugarBear’s sleep expert.
“While it might feel impossible as a busy college student or new parent, prioritizing sleep is one of the best things you can do to help prevent illness, boost memory, and improve your mood, but even when we do prioritize this, falling asleep doesn’t always come as easily as we’d hope,” the expert added.
The survey also found that respondents were most likely to report having pulled an all-nighter in the first years they began working after college, with more than half (54%) reporting having been awake for a whole night within this period of their life.
Nearly half of respondents (49%) had done the same in college, and 42% reported staying up all night when their child was a newborn.
While sleepless nights might have helped respondents get ahead when they first started working, or calm a fussy baby, many feel that there were long-term consequences.
Fifty-three percent of respondents believe that prolonged periods of nighttime awakeness have damaged their ability to sleep in the long term.
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