The Results Are In: 2014 Annual Sleep in America Poll

taking a poll

The 2014 Annual Sleep America Poll, commissioned by the National Sleep Foundation, focused on families with children between the ages of 6 and 17 to gain perspective on the sleep practices and beliefs of the modern family. Among the many ways the poll is useful is identifying the challenges American families face when it comes to getting a proper amount of sleep.

This year’s survey reveals that American families aren’t getting nearly enough sleep, and much of this sleep deficit is the result of highly scheduled lives that are largely technologically driven.

Survey Parameters

The National Sleep Foundation 2014 Poll involved 1,103 adults who had at least one child between the ages of 6 and 17 living at home. 54 percent of those who participated were mothers, and the families involved varied in size (40 percent with one child, 24 percent with two children, 24 percent with three children, and 11 percent with four or more children in the home).

Questions involved the sleep patterns of adults in the home as well as their children. While the survey discovered no significant sleep outcomes between male and female children, 48 percent of the children surveyed were girls.

Poll Discoveries

Poll numbers suggest that parents understand the extreme importance of a good night’s sleep for their children. 61 percent of parents believe getting a good night’s sleep is extremely important for a child’s mood, 66 percent for a child’s health and well-being, and 69 percent for a child’s performance in school. Unfortunately, the low number of children getting the necessary hours, nine per night for older children and 10 or 11 for younger children, is a cause for concern.

Nightly Sleep

7 or Fewer Hours

8 Hours

9 or More Hours

6-11 years of age

8%

23%

69%

12-14 years of age

29%

42%

29%

15-17 years of age

56%

34%

10%

using a smartphone in bed

What’s the Primary Culprit?

Two things bear the brunt of blame for lack of sleep and sleep quality in today’s modern families. First, the prevalence of electronics in the bedroom not only keeps children and parents up throughout the night, but this screen time it also robs them of critical quality when it comes to sleep.

Primary electronic culprits, according to the survey, are televisions and smartphones for parents, and televisions and MP3 players (closely followed by smartphones) for children. Many survey participants admit to falling asleep with these electronic devices, televisions in particular, left on at night.

The other involves hectic schedules with after school activities and homework lasting well into the evening for many children. Some consider it over-scheduled lives, and some believe it’s a lack of household rules when it comes to bedtime and getting a proper amount of sleep, with many homes having no formal rules or rules that are only sometimes enforced when it comes to bedtime, electronics, etc.

The bottom line is that the modern family isn’t getting nearly enough sleep in the average week. Technology and lifestyle structure, according to the survey, tend to be primarily responsible for the poor sleep epidemic plaguing the modern household.

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