Election Season is Taking a Major Toll on American's Sleep According to Analysis of Sleep Data

Analysis of thousands of sleep nights across the U.S. shows that people go to sleep later and wake up earlier on voting night.

SleepRate, the only complete mobile health solution that provides sleep monitoring to detect and treat non-medical sleep deficit disorders (SDD), revealed that the election season is having negative effects on our sleep. Interested to see how these historic and dramatic elections are affecting sleeping habits on primary nights, SleepRate compiled sleep data from across the United States on Super Tuesday and compared it to 6,235 nights of sleep on regular Tuesdays. The mobile health solution detected significant differences in how late people went to bed and with how early they got up. On average, participants went to bed 41 minutes later on Super Tuesday than they did on a regular Tuesday night, while they woke up 15 minutes earlier. In total, the participants lost an average of almost one hour of sleeping-time on Super Tuesday.

"The reduction in sleep-time on Super Tuesday was significant and should not be taken lightly," said Dr. Anda Baharav, MD, a former sleep researcher at Tel Aviv University and the CEO of SleepRate. "It would appear that people are staying up late to wait for the results to come in, and getting up early to check the coverage. While it is important to pay attention to the democratic process, the presidential election includes dozens of primaries and seemingly hundreds of debates. This has the potential to create poor sleeping habits, which can have a severely negative effect on your health. I would advise Americans to go to sleep on time! Don't worry, the results will be the same even if you wait to check them in the morning."

A recent study by the CDC showed that more than one third of the U.S. population suffers from sleep deprivation. According to Wayne Giles, MD, the director of the CDC's Division of Population Health, not getting enough sleep can literally kill you. A lack of sleep has been shown to lead to a 45% higher risk of a heart attack and a 12% higher risk of death, as well as relations to epidemics like obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease. It can also kill through drowsy driving and other accidents caused by tiredness.

The information was gathered from SleepRate users who voluntarily and anonymously shared their sleep data through SleepRate's patented, diagnostic technology, which tracks a person's sleep based on their instantaneous heart rate variability, using an external device. It chooses this method because it has been found to be a successful way of tracking a person's Autonomic Function, which is the system in the brain that regulates heart rate and also behavioral states such as sleep. This form of monitoring is decidedly more reliable than a standard sleep-tracking app that generally overestimates sleep. The app then presents a personalized CBT-based Sleep Improvement Plan that provides the person with step-by-step sleep-related behavioral goals, as well as cognitive tasks, that will reboot sleep over a period of a few weeks.

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Josh Litvin is a tech writer and blogger.