Sep. 20, 2012 at 8:49 AM ET
By Tracy Miller
If you're reading this on a Wednesday or Thursday, we're willing to bet you're guilty of at least one of the following: a) snapping at your spouse; b) skipping your regularly scheduled workout; or c) abandoning your healthy eating intentions. Why? Because you didn't get enough shut-eye last night, according to new data that suggests Wednesdays and Thursdays are the nights when people sleep the least.
BodyMedia, the makers of an armband that tracks calorie burn and sleep patterns, crunched numbers from roughly 100,000 of their anonymous users to find that the average amount of sleep on those midweek nights hovers just over six hours a night. By contrast, Sundays--the best sleep night of the week--average around 6.8 hours.
That may not seem like a drastic difference, but a lost half-hour here and there can add up over time, especially considering no night of the week registered an average sleep time above seven hours, according to the data. And eight hours of sleep a night is recommended for most adults.
While Thursdays fall short on total shut-eye time, there is a silver lining: Sleep efficiency--the amount of time you actually spend asleep compared to the total time lying down--was actually highest on Thursdays (exhaustion, maybe?). The worst sleep efficiency night is Monday, likely due to the fact that people are forced to try and wrestle their way back to a weekly sleep routine after a weekend off.
We'll spare you the laundry list of the health problems associated with not getting enough shut-eye, and skip straight to the fix. A few little lifestyle changes can dramatically improve your sleep quality, even if all your other sleep-stealers--work deadlines, family commitments, and everything else on your endless to-do list--stay the same. Check out 20 Ways To Sleep Better Every Night.
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