47 Scary Facts About Sleep – And Some Fun One’s Too!

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Today I’m going to share with you some scary facts about sleep – 47 to be precise. 

Although I will admit that I didn’t want this article to be all doom-and-gloom, so I’ve sprinkled a few fun facts in there as well.

I’m sure many of you will have suffered the odd sleepless night here-and-there, whereas others of you may have a specific sleep disorder which seems to have taken over your life.

Unfortunately, far too many people take sleep for granted and some even joke about their lack of (or excess amount of) sleep.

However, many of the following facts and stats will prove that sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are no laughing matter.

Firstly, How Much Sleep Should We Be Getting

Adult: 7 – 9 hours

Teenager: 8 – 10 hours

Child 6 – 12 years: 9- 12 hours

Child 3 – 5 years: 10 – 13 hours (including naps)

Child 1 – 2 years: 11 – 14 hours (including naps)

Infants 4 -12 months: 12 – 16 hours (including naps)

Let’s Take A Quick Trip Around the World

1) South Korea and Japan are the world’s worst sleepers. 

2) Japan has a culture of working long hours. This is seen as a sign of loyalty and commitment. However, long working hours typically leads to a lack of sleep and the phenomenon of “Karoshi” (death caused by a lack of sleep) is well-documented in Japan.

3) People from Egypt, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines are also some of the most sleep deprived in the world.

4) New Zealand are the best sleepers in the world with an average of 7.5 hours a night.

5) They are followed closely by Finland, The Netherlands, The UK, and Belgium.

The Economy

6) The equivalent of 1.2 million working days per year are lost in the United States due to people not getting enough sleep.

7) The “loss” of working days equates to approximately $411 billion in lost revenue a year.

8) The economic costs of lost working days in Japan is $138 billion a year.

9) The figure is $60 billion for Germany and $50 billion in the United Kingdom.

It Could Only Happen in America

10) Up to 70 million people in the United States suffer from some form of sleep disorder.

11) Americans currently average 6.8 hours of sleep a night. The recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 


12) 40% of Americans sleep for 6 hours or fewer a night.

13) It is estimated that 48% of people in the United States have reported snoring problems.

14) The most common sleep disorder in the US is insomnia. Up to 30% of the adult population suffer from this affliction.

15) It is estimated that over 10 million people in the United States remain undiagnosed with sleep apnea.

16) 9 million Americans take prescription drugs to help them sleep.

17) Approximately 11 million Americans suffer with Restless Leg Syndrome.

Living the American Dream

18) 57% of employed people in the US get 7 or more hours sleep a night. 

19) The figure rises to 62% for the unemployed.

20) 52% of US households with an annual income of less than $30,000 sleep for 7 hours or more a night.

21) If the annual household income is between $30,000 to $75,000 the figure rises to 61%.

22) 66% if the annual household income is $75,000 or more.

23) 46% of US households that have children under 18 years of age sleep for 6 hours or fewer a night.

It’s Not Just You

24) Four out of every 10 insomnia patients also suffer with a psychiatric condition.

25) Narcolepsy is considered to be one of the most dangerous sleep disorders. The symptoms include daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis, sudden loss of muscle function, and hallucinations.

26) Narcolepsy affects over 3 million people worldwide and approximately 200,000 people in the US alone.

27) It is estimated that people using sleeping pills have a 35% higher chance of developing cancer.

28) It is recommended that teens get 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

29) Shockingly, 85% of teens get less sleep than this on a nightly basis.

30) Not surprisingly, 70% of college students don’t get enough sleep.

31) On average, humans spend almost one-third of their lives sleeping. This actually makes a lot of sense when you consider that we aim for 8 hours sleep over a 24-hour period.

The Animal Kingdom

32) Cats spend two-thirds of their entire life asleep. Once again, this probably makes a lot of sense. 

33) A brown bat requires 19 hours and 54 minutes of sleep per day on average.

34) A giraffe typically only needs 1 hour and 54 minutes of sleep a day.

35) A dog sleeps for anywhere between 12-14 hours a day.

36) A horse averages 2 hours 50 minutes of sleep per day.

37) A hamster’s sleep cycle seems to be very similar to that of humans, as they average 6-8 hours sleep a day. However, the majority of their sleep is during daylight hours, much to the annoyance of their owners no doubt.

38) You may be interested to learn that possibly the laziest member of the animal kingdom, the sloth, doesn’t sleep for the longest, averaging between 15-18 hours a day.

39) The prize for longest sleeper goes to the koala, averaging 22 hours a day.

Well I Never Knew That…

40) The longest period of time that someone has gone without sleep is 11 days. This was achieved in 1964 by Californian student, Randy Gardner. This is definitely something that you shouldn’t try at home as people have been known to die from extreme sleep deprivation. 

41) A new parent typically loses just over 1,055 hours of sleep in the first year of their child’s life. Based on the average recommended figure of 8 hours sleep a night, that’s almost 132 entire nights of sleep lost in 365 days.

42) Almost 38% of people have reported falling asleep at work during the previous 30 days.

43) CPAP devices used to treat obstructive sleep apnea is a $4.3 billion a year industry.

44) The sleep tracking device market is estimated to be worth $1.12 billion.

45) 75% of people who suffer from depression also suffer with a lack of sleep.

46) 1 in every 5 serious car crashes can be attributed to driver sleepiness.

47) In 1910 the average person slept 9 hours a night.

And There You Have It

I hope you enjoyed my list of scary facts about sleep.

As you can see there are certainly some frightening statistics about sleep, sleep deprivation and sleep disorders.

Please feel free to discuss anything in this article, or any scary, or even funny experiences, you have had with sleep in the comments section below.

Until then, I wish you a great night’s sleep.



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