Are We Getting More Zzzs? Experts Have to Sleep on It

Surveys differ on whether Americans get enough sleep
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2008 9:00 AM CDT
Sleep deprivation can take a toll on health and job performance.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Americans slept more in 2005 than in 2000, according to a new study that counters claims of widespread sleep-deprivation. Yanks averaged 59 weekly hours of sleep in 2005, up from 56 hours in 2000, say University of Maryland researchers using Census data that account for every minute of the day. But a National Sleep Foundation survey counted just 48 hours.

The NSF results differ because its study relied on self-reported estimates, says the lead Maryland researcher. "It's virtuous in American society to not get enough sleep," he said, explaining the insomnia inflation. Canadians are also getting more sleep, according to another time-use survey. But time-use surveys "have issues, too,” said a NSF psychologist, because time spent counting sheep can be reported as sleep.