The Covid-19 pandemic has made it more challenging than ever to get a good night’s sleep. Whether because of financial stress or the change in our routines, people aren’t getting the sleep they need. That might sound obvious, but a lot of people miss the implications of what that really means. 

When it comes down to it, sleep is connected to everything –– how your brain works, your mood and your energy levels. Not getting enough sleep is a big deal. Sleep is a contributing factor to both your physical and mental health. A lack of it can make problems existing worse and compromise your decision-making. A March 2021 survey from Invisibly polled 1024 Americans to take a look at their sleeping patterns during the pandemic. Here’s what you need to know.

Key findings:

  • 82% of respondents are not sleeping well or could be sleeping better. 
  • Only 18.3% of people sleep very well. 
  • Only 14% of respondents have a consistent sleep schedule. 
  • Non-binary Americans sleep the worst.

Men Sleep The Best

Most respondents said they did not sleep well across the board and don’t feel rested when they wake up. 29% percent of male respondents sleep very well, while only 13% of women and 11% of people who identify as non-binary sleep well. 

Nearly 60% of non-binary respondents reported that they do not sleep well and are tired when they wake up. That’s significantly more than both men (36%) and women (39%). That could be several reasons and is undoubtedly at least partly a symptom of the country’s political turmoil. A March 2020 qualitative study of sleep among transgender and gender non-binary individuals found that sleep health is an issue for this community. 

The study said, “sleep health promotion interventions should be developed for TGNB people, which would promote positive mental health, reduce the risk of pharmaceutical adverse events, and help alleviate psychosocial stress in this target population.”

Research exploring the sleep habits of TGNB people is currently limited. More work is essential to find intervention strategies to help every person get the sleep they need –– during the pandemic and beyond. 

Men Also Get The Most Sleep

It’s recommended that the average adult should aim for seven to nine hours each night. That’s the goal, but we all know that’s not always realistic. The study showed just that –– most people don’t get that eight hours of sleep. 82% of people said they aren’t sleeping as well as they could be. That said, 38% of men manage to get at least eight hours of sleep, while only 24% of women and 22% of non-binary respondents reported sleeping for at least 8 hours. People who identify as non-binary sleep the least. 48% said they sleep under six hours each night.      

Men Have The Most Consistent Sleep Schedule

The majority of people said their sleep schedule does vary; only 14% reported having a consistent sleep schedule. When asked if they go to bed at the same time each night, men said the highest rates of “yes” at 30%. Only 10% of both people who identify as non-binary and women sleep at the same time each night. 

When asked if the covid pandemic impacted their sleep patterns, 45% of people said it had. 48% of women said their sleep had been impacted some way by the pandemic, while men were the least affected at 34%. 52% of respondents identifying as non-binary reported that the pandemic had impacted their sleep. 

What This Means For You

There is a lot you should take away from these findings. Somehow men reported the best sleep in every aspect measured. It’s also cannot be ignored that respondents who identify as non-binary reported that they were impacted the most by the pandemic and generally slept the worst. 

Yes, men get the best, most consistent sleep, according to the data. That doesn’t mean that every person can’t get quality sleep as often as they can. It might just take some intentional effort. We’ve got a few ideas that might help you wake up happier. 

Go To Sleep And Wake Up At The Same Time When You Can

Our bodies love routine, and you will get a better night’s sleep if you stick to one. If you can, you should aim to wake up and go to sleep within the same 20-minute window, even on the weekends. It’s easier said than done. Only 14% of people said they have a consistent sleep schedule. With jobs, kids and an ongoing pandemic, we know it’s hard to manage this. 54% of respondents said that their sleep schedules varied each day. 

We know that many people have jobs that have varying shifts that can impact your sleeping schedule. Ultimately what it comes down to is finding the right balance for you. There’s no right or wrong here. As long as you’re getting the sleep you need, that’s what matters. 

Stick To Your Routine

Going to sleep and waking up at a specific time is only one part of your routine. If you don’t have a regular schedule, that doesn’t rule out your ability to sleep well. Having a relaxing nighttime routine can help your body fall asleep faster. Your nighttime routine can involve anything! It will vary from person to person, so there’s no right way to get ready for bed. 

There are a few things that will keep you up at night. So it’s best to avoid these things when possible. 

  • The blue light from your phone or the TV
  • Rigorous exercise 
  • Coffee or alcoholic beverages
  • Eating too close to bedtime

Whether it be a noise machine or you’re one of those people who can fall asleep in an instant, you have to find what works for you. We’ve got a few tips to help you unwind before bed. These are just a few, and the list goes on! 

  • Go for a walk
  • Try blue-light blocking glasses if you can’t turn off your electronics 
  • Take a bath
  • Stretch or practice some nighttime yoga poses –– nothing too involved. 
  • Read a book
  • Evaluate your sleep environment and make changes where needed. 

Too long, didn’t read?

The Invisibly survey found that people who identify as men tend to sleep the longest and the most consistently. Non-binary respondents reported sleeping the worst and for the shortest amount of time. It’s important to remember these findings aren’t a hard and fast rule. Any person can choose to be intentional about how they sleep.