There’s no room in our homes that we spend more time in than the bedroom. You can say I’m biased, but I think it’s the most important room in the house. The National Sleep Foundation has just released the results of its first-ever “Bedroom Poll,” which is full of information about how aspects of our bedrooms affect sleep life. The survey covered many aspects of bedroom life, from how much and how well we’re sleeping, to romance and intimacy, to how often we change our sheets. The survey found Americans feeling pretty good about their bedrooms—a majority said they prefer their own bedrooms to a nice hotel. As much as we may appreciate our bedrooms as a retreat and a haven, the poll shows we’re still not actually get enough sleep there.
Let’s take a look at some of the details. The survey, which included 1,500 adults ages 25-55, interviewed by telephone, gathered basic information about how well Americans think they are sleeping. Many people report sleeping well sometimes, but fewer than half say they sleep well most nights:
Overall, people report sleeping more on weekends than during the week. The average nightly sleep for weeknights was 6 hours and 30 minutes, at the low end of the recommended 6-8 hours per night. The weekend average rose to 7 hours and 12 minutes. Those with the strongest sleep habits--people who reported sleeping well every night or almost every night—also reported sleeping more on both weeknights and weekends, averaging almost 1 hour of additional sleep, compared to the rest of respondents.
How much sleep do we think we need to function at our best? The survey found:
The average amount of sleep respondents think they need per night was 7 hours and 25 minutes.
I’m suspicious of this last figure: there are super sleepers out there, but they are rare. The rest of us need somewhere in the range of 6-8 hours of sleep per night to feel good during the day.
We may not be sleeping enough, but Americans are pretty upbeat about their bedrooms. Not surprisingly, most people reported that a clean, fresh bedroom environment made them feel better about hitting the sheets:
These responses echo something I’ve said for a long time: a clean bedroom and a welcoming bed (which includes not just clean sheets, but also well-made mattress and pillows) can have a significant effect on how we approach our nightly sleep, and how well we sleep once we’re in bed. It’s worth noting that the people in the survey who reported making their bed every day or almost every day were more likely to also say they slept well every night or almost every night.
When asked to rate the environmental factors in the bedroom that contributed to a good night’s sleep, a majority of respondents rated a clean bedroom as important—but it wasn’t the number one factor. According to the poll, a cool temperature was most often cited as the most important factor in creating a sleep friendly bedroom environment, followed by:
This list looked a little different when it came to creating a romance-friendly environment. When asked to name the most important factors for romance in the bedroom, respondents chose:
The results of this survey confirm what I and other sleep experts have been saying for years: the condition of your bedroom really matters, for the quality of your sleep as well as your intimate life and your health. Here are my tips for keeping your bedroom in good shape—or shaping it up, if it’s been neglected:
Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™