Americans Slept More During Quarantine — But There’s a Catch

Americans slept an average of 9.1 hours per day in 2020, according to a recent report.

A man sleeps on his bed as the daylight shines down on him

It’s no secret that quarantine was not a great time for most of us, as people drank more, gained weight, and generally experienced more stress and depression due to being trapped inside for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But there was one silver lining in that extremely dark cloud of a year, and that is the fact that Americans actually managed to get some much-needed rest.

According to the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), which is created by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people aged 15 and up reported sleeping an average of 9.1 hours per day (including nighttime sleep and naps) from May-December of 2020, compared to 8.84 hours of sleep in 2019.

This may not seem like the largest leap in the world, but it’s a significant increase compared to previous years. For example, Americans only got 0.02 hours more sleep per day in 2019 compared to 2018, as the number typically only increases slightly from year to year.

The increase in sleep is certainly due to quarantine, as people spent more time than ever at home and thus were able to sleep more without needing to commute to work or go out with friends and family.

This is good news, as the CDC has previously reported that one in three Americans don’t get enough sleep, but there is a bit of a catch.

While overall, American adults got more sleep in 2020, there is still evidence that certain groups weren’t a part of that increase, especially those aged 35-44.

And even if people are getting more sleep, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s quality rest. According to a recent survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, more than half of adults said that they experienced an increase in “sleep disturbances” in 2020, which includes problems falling or staying asleep, sleeping less, experiencing worse quality sleep, and having more disturbing dreams. What a surprise.