New Survey Suggests Americans are Sleeping Less and Drinking More

November 3, 2020 by Sara Wilkerson
(Photo via Instagram)

A new survey conducted by ValuePenguin, a data-based personal finance research company, shows that more than a quarter of Americans are getting less sleep and that 1 in 5 are drinking more alcohol as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2,000 Americans were surveyed early in October to study how the pandemic has impacted American daily health habits. 

When breaking down American sleeping habits further, 64% of respondents said that they are not getting at least seven hours of sleep, a 16% jump from surveys earlier this year. 

In terms of the pandemic’s impact on generational sleep, 30% of Generation X respondents, those aged 40 to 54, have reported getting the least amount of sleep. Adults in Generation Z, those aged 18 to 23, come in a close second with 29% reporting they’re getting less sleep. 

Paradoxically, Generation Z has also reported getting more sleep than other generations, with 46% of Gen Z respondents reporting on the trend. 

As Americans are getting less sleep, the survey also revealed that they are consuming television and alcohol at higher rates than before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to ValuePenguin, “Fifty-seven percent of respondents reported watching more TV, and 22% said they’ve been drinking alcohol more frequently.” 

The survey report also said, “Nearly a third of parents with children younger than 18 said they’ve been drinking more.” 

ValuePenguin noted that 62% of Generation Zers are the ones watching the most television while nearly 30% of millennials, adults aged 24 to 39, are drinking alcohol the most. Generation Xers follow closely behind millennials in alcohol consumption with 26%. 

For other habits such as regularly exercising and going to yearly physical exams, Americans have been unable to keep up with these overall well-being habits. 

As gyms across the country have been closing or at reduced capacity due to coronavirus shutdowns, 74% of Americans reported that they are not getting at least two hours of exercise every week. Thirty-nine percent of Americans say they’re exercising more. 

Additionally, as hospitals and doctor’s offices have reduced availability for Americans, most are skipping out on doctor check-ups. In a separate survey from ValuePenguin, 6 in 10 Americans have put off or skipped doctor’s appointments altogether. Twenty-six percent of Americans have reportedly skipped their annual doctor’s physical examination. 

“During a pandemic, it can be easy to break habits and disregard your health,” said Sterling Price, a ValuePenguin insurance expert. “However, these mistakes can compound into larger problems if not caught quickly. For this reason, individuals should avoid skipping checkups and physicals.” 

On reflecting on their health habits and lifestyle, 49% of Americans say they believe that their health habits have improved since the start of the pandemic. Fifty-seven percent of American men report better health habits, while 42% of women said they had the same belief. 

Nearly half of Americans (45%) say they are eating more vegetables and fruits. At the same time, 47% of survey respondents say they’ve been eating less fast food and have opted for more at-home meals as a healthy alternative. 

When it comes to examining healthy habits across generations, 59% of millennials say that their health habits have generally gotten better. Meanwhile, the Silent generation, those aged 75 years and above, believe that their habits have not gotten better, with only 38% noting improvement in their habits. 

To read the full report of ValuePenguin’s latest survey on American health, visit their website

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