Younger generations are the most likely to report that they aren’t getting enough sleep, a survey has found.

Research into the sleeping habits of Americans by Gallup found that people aged 30 to 49—the millennial generation—were the least likely age group to report getting enough sleep. Just 39 percent of millennials said they were getting the requisite amount of shut-eye.

Meanwhile, 55 percent of people aged 65 and over said they slept enough.

The results of the survey, carried out in December 2023, found a majority of adults of all ages—57 percent—said they would feel better if they got more sleep. However, only 42 percent say they are getting as much sleep as they need.

As well as a clear generational gap, the data also showed that women are getting the least amount of sleep overall.

The poll found 36 percent of women—versus 48 percent of men—were getting the sleep they need. Both figures are the lowest Gallup has measured for each group to date.

Younger women are much less likely than other age-by-gender groups to say they’re getting enough sleep, with just 27 percent reporting they get sufficient rest. Older men, at 55 percent, are the most likely group to get enough sleep.

Claire Vowell, a chartered psychologist based in the U.K., told Newsweek: “Women typically report higher levels of stress than men. Often this relates to the burden of balancing family or caring responsibilities with a career, often leading to feelings of overwhelm.”

Overall, however, people of all ages and genders are getting less slumber. Only 26 percent said they got eight or more hours, which is around the amount that sleep experts say is recommended for health and mental wellbeing.

Millennial sleep
A stock photo shows a man in bed. Younger people get less sleep than older people, research suggests.

Getty Images

The findings mark a significant decline from previous surveys. A Gallup poll carried out in 2013 found that 56 percent said they got the needed sleep and 43 percent said they didn’t.

Americans are also more stressed, the data shows—which may or not be linked to the fact they say they are getting less sleep. The new poll shows that 63 percent of those who report wanting more sleep say they frequently experience stress, compared with 31 percent of those who get the sleep they need.

Overall, 53 percent of women report frequently experiencing stress, compared with 45 percent of men.

Breaking the findings down by gender and generation reveals women aged 18 to 49 say they are the most stressed day-to-day. Meanwhile, men aged 50 plus are the least likely group to say they are stressed by daily life.

The link between poor sleep and stress is well-documented in scientific literature, but it also shows that there is a two-way relationship. Those who sleep less are more stressed, while those who are more stressed sleep less.

Researchers believe that the demands of modern life, including always being ‘switched on’ and contactable because of the rise of smartphones, are contributing to stress, anxiety and poor sleep.

“We know there is a clear link between sleep and stress, so it makes sense that women and younger people who are reporting less sleep would also report higher levels of stress,” added Vowell.

“We can’t discount the enduring consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic when considering stress in the population. This, coupled with ongoing economic uncertainty provides some explanation for worsening sleep and increased stress.”

Younger workers are at greater risk of burnout as a result of chronic stress than other groups, Vowell added.

“This is likely due to joining the workforce, or being early in their careers, during the pandemic, which was characterized by uncertainty, changing policies and expectations and a general sense of less control,” she said.

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