It’s notoriously difficult to track sleep. Among the choices sleep researchers have had in the past are having subjects sleep (or probably not sleep) in labs, or having the subjects fill out (sometimes wrongly) logs that track how well and how long they slept. A new tool — fitness trackers like Fitbits that measure sleep — is bringing a wealth of new data that’s changing what we know about slumber.
New research from Fitbit, released by Yahoo News, shows a variety of insights into how we get our shuteye. The company collected anonymous data that totals six billion nights of sleep. Here’s a look at a few things they found out:
Women sleep more than men
Fitbit’s trackers found that women sleep an average of 25 minutes more than men, with women sleeping an average of six hours and 50 minutes per night. A larger point is that neither men nor women get the recommended amount, which is at least seven hours per night.
Older people sleep worse than younger people
This may not be a hugely surprising finding, but individuals who are 70 get a half hour less deep sleep per night than those who are 20.
The official bedtime of Americans
The average bedtime in America is 11:21 p.m. While this is an interesting factoid, what may be more interesting is that Fitbit found our average bedtime is 64 minutes later on the weekends than it is on the weekdays. Consistency is key when it comes to sleep, and pushing your bedtime that much later can cause Monday morning to come far too early.
One caveat to all of this data is that it does not generally include individuals who are on a very tight budget. It only includes those with enough money to buy a fitness band. With that said, this kind of mass data could not have been collected that long ago, and should provide a wealth of points for researchers to investigate.