The sleep and technology use of Americans: findings from the National Sleep Foundation's 2011 Sleep in America poll

J Clin Sleep Med. 2013 Dec 15;9(12):1291-9. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.3272.


Study objectives: To describe the technology use and sleep quality of Americans, and the unique association between technology use and sleep disturbances.

Methods: Interviews were conducted via random digit dialing (N = 750) or the Internet (N = 758). 1,508 Americans (13-64 years old, 50% males) matched to 2009 U.S. Census data provided complete interviews. The sample was further divided into adolescents (13-18 years, N = 171), young adults (19-29 years, N = 293), middle-aged adults (30-45 years, N = 469), and older adults (46-64 years, N = 565) to contrast different generations' technology use. Participants answered a 47-item semi-structured survey, including questions about their sleep habits, and the presence and use of technology in the hour before bed in the past 2 weeks.

Results: Nine of 10 Americans reported using a technological device in the hour before bed (e.g., TVs the most popular; 60%). However, those under 30 years of age were more likely to use cell phones (72% of adolescents, 67% of young adults) than those over 30 years (36% of middle-aged, and 16% of older adults). Young adults' sleep patterns were significantly later than other age groups on both weekdays and weekend nights. Unlike passive technological devices (e.g., TV, mp3 music players), the more interactive technological devices (i.e., computers/laptops, cell phones, video game consoles) used in the hour before bed, the more likely difficulties falling asleep (β = 9.4, p < 0.0001) and unrefreshing sleep (β = 6.4, p < 0.04) were reported.

Conclusions: Technology use near bedtime is extremely prevalent in the United States. Among a range of technologies, interactive technological devices are most strongly associated with sleep complaints.

Keywords: Sleep; electronic media; interactive devices; sleep disturbances; technology.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data
  • Computer Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Computers / statistics & numerical data
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music
  • Prevalence
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Technology / methods
  • Technology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Television / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Video Games / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult