Lack of sleep is compromising the mental health of 78% of adults, survey finds

In 2023, the phrase “I’m tired” reached its highest frequency in Google searches — suggesting that people are battling fatigue more than ever before.

Daylight Saving Time, which ends next week, could create even more sleep struggles. (Clocks are set back one hour on Nov. 5.)

A new report from Calm, maker of the sleep and meditation app, reveals some of the reasons people don’t get the optimal quantity or quality of rest.

“We timed the launch of Calm’s first-ever Snooze Report to the Daylight Saving transition, as we know it’s an adjustment that consistently impacts people’s sleep schedules,” said Dr. Chris Mosunic, Calm’s chief clinical officer and clinical psychologist in San Francisco. 

Researchers surveyed 9,500 residents from 10 U.S. cities and 10 U.K. cities between the ages of 18 and 65 about their sleep habits and challenges. 

Topics included relationships, generational differences and significant stressors.

Overall, 91% of adults said they are “not rested” or that they “feel tired” at least some of the time.

“The Snooze Report helped us to uncover some of the top trends that define our relationship with sleep, including the profound connection between sleep and mental health,” said Mosunic.

Below are the five biggest trends uncovered in the report.

1. Sleep and mental health are ‘inextricably linked’

Most survey respondents (78%) said a lack of sleep is negatively affecting their mental health.

More than two in three adults cited seven hours as the required amount of sleep for better mental health — but only one in three get that amount.

Nearly 75% of them are open to trying new strategies to get better sleep.

Almost half the respondents (42%) said they can’t sleep without some type of aid, including medication, marijuana/cannabis or alcohol.

“Sleep deprivation affects your psychological state and mental health — and those with mental health problems are more likely to have insomnia or other sleep disorders.”

Dr. Raj Dasgupta, chief medical adviser at Sleep Advisor in California, who was not involved in the study, agreed that sleep and mental health are closely connected.

“Sleep deprivation affects your psychological state and mental health,” he told Fox News Digital. “And those with mental health problems are more likely to have insomnia or other sleep disorders.”

2. Millennials and Gen Z struggle to fall and stay asleep

People under age 40 have sleep-related struggles for various reasons, the report noted.

Among millennials, one in four cite caffeine intake as a sleep disruptor.

Gen Z respondents were 25% more likely to lack a “good morning routine” to help them start the day when they’ve had trouble sleeping.

Thirty-eight percent of Gen Z said that current events keep them up at night, compared to 29% of millennials.

Technology keeps Gen Z from sleeping 26% more than millennials, the survey also found.

“A survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that 93% of Gen Z have lost sleep because they stayed up ‘past their bedtime’ to view or participate in social media,” noted Dasgupta.

While 46% of Gen Z have trouble falling asleep in the first place, 25% of millennials have the same complaint.

But both groups have the same amount of trouble staying asleep through the night, said the report.

“It was eye-opening to see the differences between Gen Z and millennials, two groups who are close in age and are often lumped together, but have different relationships with falling asleep,” said Mosunic.

3. People dream about things familiar to them

Once they’re asleep, the survey respondents said they tend to dream about their daily activities. 

More than 30% of the adults said they dream about people and places familiar to them, as well as “romantic or intimate experiences.”

Seventy-four percent of respondents know the people in their nightmares, they stated.

About 10% dream about dying, the survey found.

Compared to millennials, those in Gen Z are more likely to dream about dying (57% higher), being part of a video game (76% higher) and interacting on social media (30% higher).

4. Financial worries keep people awake

Snoring, fighting and having “disruptive sleep habits” are the biggest reasons for partners sleeping in separate rooms, with 46% of adults saying they have difficulty sleeping when not in their own bed.

Pets cause problems, too, with one in three adults blaming animals for disrupting their sleep.

Calm recently launched a new sleep hotline at 1-844-4-CALM-SLEEP.

“The hotline was created to offer support and provide individuals with effective tools, such as our Sleep Stories and tranquil soundscapes, proven to aid in achieving restful sleep,” said Mosunic.

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