This Is How Much Sleep the Average American Gets

Plus: Our secrets for getting the doctor-recommended amount of shuteye.

You've heard some version of it your entire life. "Get your eight hours." "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a body healthy, wealthy, and wise." Both the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine—two of the most exalted organizations in the ever-complex field of sleep research—recommend at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Get less than 7 hours, and you'll be less alert, more irritable, and even run the risk of developing unsightly bags under your eyes.

And yet, most Americans continually fall short. According to a recent report from Gallup, the average American only nets about 6.8 hours of sleep each evening. What's more, 40 percent of us are sleeping 6 hours or less each night. In short, the United States is in the throes of some rampant serious sleep deficiency.

The solution? Well, we've got more than just a few.

Light up some lavender. Seriously: Whether it's incense or a candle, researchers have found that the sumptuous fragrance lulls people into a specific state of relaxation that's conducive for easy dozing. (Here's more on how that works.)

Also try a "weighted blanket." These high-tech threads come equipped with so-called "deep touch pressure stimulation," which simulates the feeling babies get when they're swaddled. The end result is a reduced anxiety and a reset on your natural circadian rhythms. (And here's more on how that works.)

Also makes sure to keep your windows and doors open at all times. New research shows that lowering the levels of carbon dioxide in your home leads to better sleep and less restlessness. 

And finally, if you're a road warrior, be sure to check out The 10 Best Tricks for Sleeping on an Airplane.

If none of that works, consider moving to China: The average citizen there, per the OECD, gets more than nine hours of sleep each night.

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Ari Notis
Ari is an editor specializing in news and lifestyle. Read more
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