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A third of U.S. adults are struggling to get a good night's rest, a survey finds

Frederic Cirou/Getty Images/PhotoAlto

Americans are having a hard time sleeping, and stress seems to be a major factor according to a recent poll.

The web-based survey conducted jointly by Gallup and mattress retailer Casper found that only one-third of Americans report getting high-quality sleep. A third of adults said their sleep the previous night was either fair or poor. That suggests nearly 84 million people in this country are tossing and turning.

The survey of more than 3,000 adults highlighted that a person's emotional and mental state are major contributing factors, with stress increasing restlessness by 96%. Stress also more heavily impacted younger adults in the poll, with nearly seven in 10 between the ages of 18 to 29 saying that difficulty sleeping has a direct impact on their moods.

The problem likely hasn't improved lately. An American Psychological Association study recently found that Americans are feeling more anxious about inflation, global uncertainty and the war in Ukraine.

"Stress and poor sleep are closely connected and can create a vicious cycle if not addressed," says Dr. Michael Grandner, a sleep doctor who serves on Casper's Sleep Advisory Board. "While we can't eliminate stress from our lives entirely, we can implement healthier practices in our daily routines and control the environment we sleep in."

It's not that sleep isn't important to us: More than half of the people surveyed said that getting a good night's rest is a "major priority." But 65% said they were unable to get the recommended eight to nine hours of sleep a night.

The survey also mentions that 30 minutes of daily exercise improves one's odds of a great night's sleep by 30%. Even something as simple as some very light movement around the house can make a difference in one's mood and sleep quality.

One way to improve your sleep is to establish sleeping routines: 75% of "excellent" sleepers said they had a specific bedtime routine that they followed every night.

More than half of those surveyed reported using some form of sleep aid, such a noise machines or medicine.

The survey suggested that nutrition, exercise, our environment and mental health all were contributing factors to how well people slept at night — and that many of those surveyed associated the quality of their sleep with how well their days went when they got up.

Editor's note: Casper has been one of NPR's financial supporters.

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Jeff Dean
Jeff Dean is the 2021 Military Veterans in Journalism intern for NPR reporting for the Business Desk and Newsdesk teams.