Sleeping Better During Quarantine?

Data from sleep trackers seems to be telling a similar story — Americans are sleeping better during the stay-at-home days.

Fitbit found that users got 17 minutes more sleep per night in April than they did in January, according to an online May 1 article by Mark Sullivan for Fast Company. Some — 36% of those users, to be exact — got an extra half hour or more of sleep each night. Fitbit also reported improved quality of sleep, increasing 1.8 points on a 100-point scale.

Eight Sleep, a New York-based company that sells smart mattresses, reported its customers were going to bed around the same time but were waking up 26 minutes later on weekdays — moving the average wake-up time from 6:46 a.m. to 7:12 a.m. Not having to commute made later awakenings possible, the article said.

Issy-les-Moulineaux, France-based Withings, which makes smart scales and wearables, also found that Americans woke up 26 minutes later and slept 12 minutes longer between mid-March and April 18.

“This is all somewhat surprising and counterintuitive,” Sullivan wrote. “It may be that people who wear fitness devices and measure their sleep are a well-adjusted bunch who deal with stressful times well. While their stats may not extrapolate well to the wider population, they are a pretty big group: A 2020 Pew Research study found that a fifth of Americans now wear some kind of fitness tracker or smartwatch.”

While some people are sleeping longer, others are anxious and having difficulty sleeping. Other factors that contribute to sleep issues are higher levels of drinking, more screen time and a decrease in exercise. 

Even with those factors added in, “the numbers show that we’re still sleeping OK,” Sullivan wrote. “It may be that sleep is something more than a way to physically recharge. Sleep and dreaming vividly may be part of our natural way of making it through hard times.”

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