This is the truth behind why we struggle to sleep

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Sleep is a pivotal part of how we succeed in life.

Skipping much-needed sleep can literally derail your day-to-day (and even can be killing you, according to past research). Things like blue light affect how we sleep and devices like the Apple Watch might be the sleeping giant that could improve sleep patterns.

Everyone has a million excuses for why they aren’t getting enough sleep. For me, it’s trying to sneak in the last chapter of a book before bed or staying up to watch the final few innings of a baseball game. But what about everyone else? Are your sleep troubles self-inflicting?

Health technology company Phillips released its fifth annual sleep report “Wake Up Call: Global Sleep Satisfaction Trends” recently to get a reading on how people are sleeping. The survey, which included responses from more than 13,000 adults in more than a dozen countries, found that just under a half (49%) can honestly say they are satisfied with their sleep.

On average, respondents said they wake up 1.8 times during the night and the snooze button is used an average of 1.7 times. As for how much sleep people are getting, the recommended amount of nightly sleep for an adult is between 7-9 hours per night, but respondents fell short on weeknights. The average amount of sleep a respondent had during the week was 6.8 hours, while it was slightly higher on weekends (7.5 hours).

Why are people missing out on the must needed R&R? Thirty-three percent of respondents said worry or stress was one of the factors for missing out on sleep, but only 53% of adults admitted to having an understanding of why they aren’t getting the best sleep possible.

One of the key reasons why people are missing out on sleep is cell phone use. It’s been researched heavily that using your phone before bed can prevent a good night’s sleep and three-quarters of respondents admitting to using their cell phone in bed. More than a third (39%) admitted to using their phones right before falling asleep. It was also the first thing some (39%) checked right after waking up.

Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles of phone use in bed remains respondents using their phones as an alarm clock. Rather than investing in your parents’ old-fashioned nightstand clock, 42% of respondents said their phone acts as an alarm clock. Other uses of phones in bed are for entertainment purposes (34%), whether it’s watching videos or scrolling through social media like Facebook or Instagram. A third said they charge their phone overnight next to their bed and 11%  said they respond to texts and calls that wake them up during the night.

Just barely over a quarter of respondents (26%) said they do not use a cell phone in bed.

Some other key findings from the study:

  • Sleep conditions altering sleep patterns like insomnia, snoring, shift work disorder and chronic pain were all down from where they were in 2019, but sleep apnea remained consistent with respondents (2019: 10% vs. 2020: 9%).
  • Respondents were less likely to be actively doing something to improve their sleep compared to last year. Reading, listening to soothing music, using a sunrise alarm clock, and meditation all declined compared to 2019.
  • 60% of respondents said they are open to learning about new strategies to help them get better sleep.