Monday, June 28, 2010

Americans Replace Work with Sleep in Recession

Contrary to previous reports, we aren’t staying awake worrying about the recession. A new government survey shows the average American gained sleep since the housing bubble burst and unemployment rates inflated.

The Labor Department’s 2009 American Time Use Survey reports last year we spent 17 fewer minutes a day engaged in work compared to 2007. In turn, we’re sleeping an extra six minutes. Americans ages 15 and older slept an average of eight hours and 40 minutes a day.

The numbers may be discouraging on the economic front, but from a health standpoint we’re doing quite well. The AASM recommends 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night for adults.

Women seem to be getting the most rest. Survey statistics show they had eight hours and 43 minutes of sleep in 2009. Men slept for an average of eight hours and 37 minutes. We’re sleeping extra long on weekends – about 9 hours and 20 minutes a day.

Breaking down the Labor Department report further, it appears all age groups are getting more than enough sleep:

Sleep times decreased with age. This may be because adults have more responsibilities and a reduced “sleep need.” Sleep time sharply for adults ages 65 and older. This spike is contrary to research suggesting sleep disorders including insomnia are common among older adults.

Curiously, 99.8 percent of adult men reported sleeping. The other 0.2 percent is probably explained by the survey’s margin of error, which is not listed.

So what were we doing for the rest of the extra time spent not working? In typical American fashion we spent the time watching television.

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