WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bedrooms are important to getting a good night's sleep, according to the first ever Bedroom Poll from the National Sleep Foundation.
The poll found that Americans love their bedrooms and believe that comfort and cleanliness are fundamental to good sleep.
Almost Half of Americans Are "Great Sleepers"
While most Americans believe their bedrooms are important to good sleep, only about four in ten Americans (42%) are "great sleepers" who say they get a good night's sleep every night or almost every night.
A major difference between a "great sleeper" and someone who only gets a good night's sleep a few nights a week or less is how much time they report sleeping. "Great sleepers" say they sleep on average about an hour longer than other groups.
On weekdays, "great sleepers" say they sleep an average of seven hours and nine minutes compared to an average sleep time of six hours and two minutes for those who report getting good sleep less often. Even on weekends, "great sleepers" say they get more sleep, sleeping for an average of seven hours and 41 minutes versus the other group's six hours and 52 minutes average.
"Love your bedroom and make it the best place you can," says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation, "but at the end of the day, it's crucial to give yourself enough time to wind down and get the seven to nine hours of sleep that most people need to feel their healthiest and best."
Americans Love Their Bedrooms
The vast majority of Americans, more than nine out of ten, say that mattresses and pillows are important to getting a good night's sleep, and more than three-quarters of Americans also believe that the comfortable feel of sheets and bedding are important.
Also high on the list were cool temperature, clean air free of allergens, and a dark, quiet and clean bedroom. At least two-thirds of Americans believe these also play an important role in getting good sleep.
"We spend a third of lives in our bedrooms, so make it a sanctuary for your sleep," says Cloud. "Comfort, fresh air, quietness and cool temperature are the basic building blocks for creating the best sleep environment."
Simple Indulgences Make a Difference
Simple indulgences can also make a difference in how you feel about sleep. The poll showed that simple things like a fresh scent to your sheets or making your bed each day can impact how you feel about going to bed or even how you sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation Bedroom Poll, more than three-fourths of Americans (78%) say that they are more excited to go to bed on sheets with a fresh scent. About seven in ten Americans (71%) say they get a more comfortable night's sleep on sheets with a fresh scent.
Our parents were right when they told us to make our beds. Poll respondents who say they make their bed every day are 19% more likely to say they get a good night's sleep every night than those who don't.
"The good news is taking special care to make your bedroom pleasing to you, like fresh smelling bedding, can make a difference," says Cloud.
National Sleep Foundation Advice for Good Sleep
- Set and stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day.
- Expose yourself to bright light in the morning, and avoid it at night. Exposure to bright morning light energizes us and prepares us for a productive day. Many find it helpful in overcoming the winter "doldrums" that come with getting up in the dark. Alternatively, avoid exposure to bright light late at night. Dim your lights when it's close to bedtime, and put night lights in your halls and bathroom for nighttime awakenings.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise in the morning can help you get the light exposure you need to set your biological clock. Avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, if you are having problems sleeping.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Allow enough time to wind down and relax before going to bed.
- Create a cool, comfortable sleeping environment that is free of distractions.
- Treat your bed as your sanctuary from the stresses of the day. Use your bed for sleep only so you positively associate it with sleeping. If you find yourself still lying awake after 20 minutes or so, get up and do something relaxing in dim light until you are sleepy.
- Keep a "worry book" next to your bed. If you wake up because of worries, write them down with an action plan, and forget about them until morning.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages, chocolate and tobacco at night.
- Avoid large meals and beverages right before bedtime.
- No nightcaps. Drinking alcohol before bed can rob you of the deep sleep and dreaming you need, and it can cause you to wake up too early.
- Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medications might be contributing to your sleep problem.
- No late-afternoon or evening naps, unless you work nights. If you must nap, keep it under 45 minutes and before 3:00 p.m.
About the National Sleep Foundation and the Bedroom Poll
The National Sleep Foundation is dedicated to improving sleep health and safety through education, public awareness, and advocacy. It is well-known for its annual Sleep in America® poll. The Foundation is a charitable, educational and scientific not-for-profit organization located in Washington, D.C. Its membership includes researchers and clinicians focused on sleep medicine, professionals in the health, medical and science fields, individuals, patients, families affected by drowsy driving and more than 900 healthcare facilities throughout North America.
The Bedroom Poll was developed independently by the National Sleep Foundation. NSF received financial support from Downy to conduct the poll. Information about the National Sleep Foundation, the current and other polls and a database of sleep professionals and sleep centers who can be contacted to comment on this story or refer patients to be interviewed can be found online at www.sleepfoundation.org
The National Sleep Foundation commissioned WB&A Market Research to conduct this public opinion poll exploring characteristics of American bedrooms and the perceived effect of the bedroom environment on sleep. A total of 1,500 telephone interviews were conducted. In order to qualify for this study, respondents had to be between the ages of 25-55. The survey averaged 13.1 minutes in length.
Within the listed sample, the following four ethnic groups were targeted to provide equal representation across each: White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic. Specifically, the Black population was targeted by the African-American Census Tract, the Asian population was targeted by Asian surnames, and the Hispanic population was targeted by Hispanic surnames.
In survey research, the entire population is typically not interviewed, but rather a sample of that population is polled. Therefore, the data are subject to sampling error. The maximum sampling error of the data for the total sample of 1,500 interviews is +/- 2.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The sampling error will vary depending on the sample size and the percentages being examined in the sample.
SOURCE National Sleep Foundation