We’re Getting More Sleep. A Whole 18 Minutes. It’s Not Enough.

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Studies suggest a good night’s sleep can help with everything from better concentration to managing your weight. Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Years of scolding from health experts about a good night’s rest may be breaking through.

Americans are finally getting more sleep — about 18 minutes more per weeknight compared with 2003.

It may not sound like much, but researchers say it’s a positive sign.

Weeknight Sleep, in Hours

Americans gained an average 1.4 minutes per year in weeknight sleep between 2003 and 2016.

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“If we only got more sleep, we would then see that we actually perform better and would probably be more creative and more productive during the day,” said Dr. Mathias Basner, the associate professor of sleep and chronobiology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and the lead author of the analysis of federal survey data, published this month in the journal “Sleep.”

The incremental gains took place over 13 years. Dr. Basner and his colleague, Dr. David F. Dinges, found that Americans gained about 1.4 minutes of sleep per weeknight each year between 2003 and 2016.

People also slept more on weekends, though the improvement was not as greate — an extra 50 seconds of sleep per weekend night per year, a total gain of about 11 minutes.

Weekend Sleep, in Hours

Americans gained about 50 seconds per year in sleep on weekend nights from 2003 to 2016.

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On average, Americans get more than eight hours of sleep on weeknights and more on weekends, according to the data. But sleep length varies widely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of adults get insufficient sleep, which it defines as less than seven hours.

Many studies have pointed to the potential health benefits of a good night’s sleep. Poor sleep has been linked to weight gain, focus issues and even an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It can even exacerbate relationship problems.

Source: The New York Times

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