Sleep Habits of Californians

sleep habits

Sit ‘n Sleep is committed to promoting the health, well-being and happiness of Californians by helping them improve the quality of their sleep. That’s why we wanted to look at their sleep habits. We conducted a survey of more than 500 California residents over 18 years old to learn more about their mattress buying habits and sleep preferences. Below is what we found out about Californians, their sleep habits, and how and where they shop for mattresses. Some of the answers were quite surprising.

What We Found Out About Sleep Habits

  • Most of those who took part in our sleep habit survey bought their first mattress when they were between the ages of 18 and 34
  • Almost half had never bought a mattress
  • On average, respondents had purchased 3.4 mattresses
  • Most kept their mattresses between five and ten years before replacing them
  • More than half would be uncomfortable paying more than $500 for a new mattress
  • Cost is the primary factor that kept those who were surveyed from buying a new mattress
  • Slightly less than half had purchased a mattress from a mattress-only retailer
  • Of those who buy their next mattress online, more than half would do so either because of lower prices or the convenience of online buying

Sleep Habits Survey Questions and Responses

Mattress Sleep Habits

Have you ever bought a mattress?

Only slightly more than half of the Californians who took part in the sleep habits survey (51.8%) indicated they had purchased one or more mattresses during their lifetime. 

What are the reasons why you’ve never purchased a mattress?

Here are the reasons given by the 48.2% of respondents who indicated they had never bought a mattress:

  • 25.9% Sleep on a hand-me-down mattress
  • 21.7% Assumed that mattresses were too expensive
  • 20.8% Never considered buying a mattress
  • 7.5%  Sleep on an air mattress
  • 5.5%  Sleep on a futon
  • 18.6% Indicated there were various other reasons

All of these justifications are understandable, but none of them are compelling reasons not to purchase a new mattress. Hand-me down mattresses, futons, and air mattresses are all fine for a few nights of sleep, but since they don’t offer an optimal sleep surface, they eventually lead to soreness, restless nights, and groggy days. For all those who have never considered buying a new mattress, it may be time to evaluate how well you’re really seeping. And for anyone who assumes it’s to expensive, rest assured that new mattresses come in a variety of price points. The nearly 50% of people getting by with something to sleep on owe it to themselves to try a new mattress at least once. The difference between a great sleep surface and what you have now might be greater than you expect. 

What was your age when you bought your first mattress?

Not surprisingly, the vast majority (71;4%) of those questioned were between 18 and 34 years of age, which is when young people traditionally leave home, set up new households and begin lives as adults. It was, however, surprising, to learn that 6.5% of the respondents to our survey purchased their first mattress before their 18th birthday. The remaining 22.2% were broken down as follows:

  • 11.1% were between the ages of 45 and 54
  • 7.3% were between 55 and 64 years of age
  • 3.8% were 65 or older

How many mattresses have you purchased during your life?

The average respondent had purchased  3.4 mattresses during their lifetime. 

How often do you replace your mattress?

Most respondents indicated they replaced their mattresses every five to ten years. Amazingly, over 40% of those who replied kept their mattresses ten years or longer. Of these, a whopping 10% had been sleeping on the same mattress for more than 20 years. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Less than every 5 years – 13.0%
  • Every 5 to 10 years – 43.1%
  • Every 11 to 15 years – 22.5%
  • More often than every 5 years – 13.0%
  • Every 16 to 20 years – 11.1%
  • 20 years or longer – 10.3%

According to Joe Shaw, manager of Sit ‘n Sleep’s City of Commerce mattress store and clearance center, “The life of a mattress can vary based on the habits of individual sleepers, but if your mattress is more than eight years old, it’s definitely time to have it replaced from standpoints of both health and comfort. We have Sleep Consultants on duty at each Sit ‘n Sleep location who are always available to help shoppers choose a mattress in the size, type and comfort level that’s best for their particular situation.”

Do you love the mattress you’re now sleeping on?

Despite more than 40% of respondents indicating they slept on the same mattress for more than ten years, it was surprising to learn that two-thirds (66.2%) of the people surveyed replied that they did in fact love their mattress. The remaining 33.8% indicated dissatisfaction with the mattress they now sleep on.

What type of mattress do you prefer?

The single largest category of respondents indicated they weren’t sure of the type of mattress they preferred. Here’s the breakdown of the responses in descending order:

  • 27.8% weren’t sure 
  • 21.7% preferred a firm mattress
  • 20.2% found soft mattresses to be the most comfortable
  • 16.4% liked a Tempur-Pedic mattress
  • 5.3% liked Sleep Number adjustable mattresses
  • 4.3% preferred the least expensive mattresses available, regardless of brand, type or comfort level
  • 3.4% responded with various other preferences

From comfort levels of ultra plush to extra firm and everything in between, you’ll find them all at your nearest Sit ‘n Sleep location in sizes from Twin to California King.

Spending Sleep Habits

How much would you be comfortable spending on a new mattress?

Over half of those we asked would be uncomfortable paying more than $500 for a new mattress. There were, however, a few respondents who would be willing to spend $4,500 or more to replace their old mattress. Here’s the complete breakdown:

  • Less than $500 – 51.0%
  • $500 to $1,499 – 32.4%
  • $1,500 to $2,499 – 6.7%
  • $2,500 to $3,499 – 2.8%
  • $3,500 to $4,499 – 1.0%
  • $4,500 or more – 6.1%

After seeing the results of the survey, Brad Jones, a Sit ‘n Sleep store manager had this to say: “Our huge selection of mattresses and everyday low prices means each one of our 38 Sit ‘n Sleep mattress superstores have a mattress to suit any body type and fit just about any budget, no matter how small”.

What is keeping you from buying a new mattress?

More than half (56.5%) of our survey respondents indicated price was the primary factor that kept them from replacing the mattress they were sleeping on. Another 15.6% put off buying a new mattress because it was inconvenient, while 27.9% had various other reasons for delaying their purchases. As Susan Keller, another Sit ‘n Sleep Southern California store manager pointed out “Mattress shopping at Sit ‘n Sleep either online or in one of our mattress superstores is fast, easy and affordable. No matter where in Southern California you live, there’s a Sit ‘n Sleep mattress store nearby that’s open seven days a week. We believe in great customer service, so trained and knowledgeable Sleep Consultants are always on duty to answer our customers’ questions and help them chose the mattress that’s right for their situation”.

What was the reason for purchasing your last mattress?

Not surprisingly, almost half (47.4%) of the total respondents said they bought a new mattress either to replace one that was old and worn or because they were sleeping on a mattress that was so uncomfortable they couldn’t get a good night’s rest. Here are all the reasons Californians gave for buying a new mattress:

  • Replacing a worn out mattress – 27.9%
  • Sleeping on a mattress that’s uncomfortable – 19.5%
  • Moving to a new location – 16.0%
  • Wanting to change to a larger or smaller size mattress – 12.6%
  • Moving away from home – 5.0%
  • Having outgrown the mattress – 3.1%
  • Other reasons – 5.7%

Shopping Sleep Habits

Have you ever bought a mattress from a mattress-only retailer? 

A slight majority (59.2%) of those asked indicated they had never purchased a mattress from a store that specialized in selling only mattresses and sleep-related products and accessories, such as a Sit ‘n Sleep mattress superstore. The other 40.8% had purchased at least one mattress from a mattress specialty store during their lifetime .

Hypothetically, why would you choose buying your next mattress online rather than from a brick and mortar mattress store?

More than one-third of the survey respondents said they would shop for a mattress online for convenience. Almost as many said mattress prices were low enough to prompt them to buy over the Internet (here’s where you can check you can check Sit ‘n Sleep’s online deals or everyday low prices). Here’s the breakdown among all respondents:

  • 36.8% would buy online for convenience
  • 34.2% would choose an online retailer because of price
  • 20.6% buy online because of the wide range of choices
  • 8.5% would buy a mattress online for other reasons

Where did you get your last mattress?

This is the breakdown of where the Californians who participated in our survey got the mattress that they now sleep on:

  • Mattress Specialty Store – 42.0%
  • Big Box Retailer (Costco, Walmart, Ikea, etc.) – 19.8%
  • Hand-Me-Down – 8.8%
  • Purchased Online – 7.6%
  • Received as a gift – 7.3%
  • Thrift Store – 2.7%
  • Other Sources – 11.8%

Improve Your Sleep Habits With Sit ‘n Sleep

Sit ‘n Sleep has been providing the public with sleep systems, bedding and accessories for more than 40 years. We continue to be dedicated to providing Southern Californians with quality products, affordable prices and outstanding customer service. What we learned from the survey will be used to provide our customers with an even greater selection of quality mattresses and sleep related products.

Sleep and Academic Performance

It’s generally recognized that getting a good night’s sleep is necessary for overall mental and physical health and well-being. Recent studies, however, indicate that today’s adolescents aren’t getting enough sleep, and that lack of sleep may be directly affecting their ability to learn.

The National Sleep Foundation is among the professional sleep research organizations whose findings indicate a direct correlation between sleep and academic performance in young students, particularly those in middle school and high school.  The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends middle schools and high schools delay starting morning classes until 8:30 or later. The results of these studies have prompted them to call for delaying the start of the school day to no earlier than 8:30 am, which is a move widely supported by medical doctors, educators, politicians and, of course, students themselves, but obviously for different reasons!.

Forty-five states have at least some school districts where the school day starts at 8:30 in the morning or later. There’s currently a bill on California Governor Jerry Brown’s desk that if signed would prohibit middle schools and high schools from starting classes before 8:30 a.m. Supporters argue that if students were able to get more sleep, attendance, grades and graduation rates would all improve. Senate Bill 328 would include charter schools, but exclude schools in rural areas. If the bill is signed, school districts would have until 2021 to make the transition.

School Starting Times and Academic Performance

Not getting enough sleep on school nights is common among middle school and high school students. Almost 90% of high school students regularly sleep less than the recommended nine or more hours. It’s estimated that 40% of high schools nationwide begin classes before 8:00 a.m., with only 15% starting at 8:30 or later. The median U.S. middle school starting time is 8:00 a.m., and over 40% of them start at 7:45 or earlier. According to National Sleep Foundation studies, this lack of sleep means the average adolescent is seriously sleep deprived.

Based on an American Academy of Pediatrics 2011/2012 school year study, California has over three million students enrolled in middle school and high school, three quarters of whom attend classes that begin before 8:30 in the morning. Classes at some schools begin as early as 7:30, with the average start time being shortly after 8:00 a.m.

Sleep research indicates that the circadian rhythms, or “body clocks”, in teenagers work differently than those of younger children and adults. The production of melatonin, which is the naturally occurring substance that induces sleep, doesn’t start in their still-growing bodies until some time between eleven p.m. and midnight. Melatonin production in adolescents continues until around 8:00 a.m., which is when their body clocks tell them it’s time to wake up. Most, however, are already out of bed because of early school starting times.

Waking up too early means that these young people also miss out on important rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which helps people consolidate memories and remember what he or she learned during the day. It’s also when dreaming takes place. Deep REM sleep usually occurs during the last third of the sleep cycle, which for a typical teenager if left uninterrupted would be between six and nine in the morning.

Effects on Attendance and Test Scores

Results of a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation indicate that many young people are so groggy that they don’t bother showing up for the first class of the day, particularly if it starts earlier than 8:00 a.m. Of those students that do attend, almost thirty percent fall asleep during class because their young minds aren’t yet fully awake. Failing to show up and dozing off during early morning classes contributes directly to poor standardized test results, low grades and school dropout rates.

Many people argue that delaying classes until 8:30 a.m. or later will improve both attendance rates and test scores. School districts in some areas of the country, including Virginia, Kentucky and Connecticut have already moved their school starting times forward. As predicted, the result in these areas is higher attendance records and improved test scores.

How Much Sleep is Enough?

The amount of sleep people need each night depends in large part upon their age. According to the National Sleep Foundation, preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours’ sleep, while older adults need just seven or eight hours. Although requirements can vary among individuals, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that teenagers from 14 to 17 years of age get eight to ten hours of sleep nightly.

Teenagers’ body clocks are different from those of younger children and adults, which keeps them from becoming drowsy until around 11:00 or later at night. If a student’s first class starts at 8:00 a.m., he or she would probably need to get out of bed around 6:30 in order to get dressed, eat breakfast and make it to class on time. This routine means the student gets perhaps no more than seven hours of sleep nightly, as opposed to the recommended eight to ten hours. The result is sleep deprivation.

How Too Little Sleep Effects Adolescents

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that in order to get the amount of sleep middle and high school students need, classes should start at 8:30 a.m. or later. In addition to poor academic performance, there are serious health risks associated with not getting enough sleep. These include heart disease, obesity (which can lead to type 2 diabetes), smoking, depression, drinking alcohol and drug use. Too little sleep can also impair drivers and lead to serious accidents. Studies conducted using driving simulators indicated that getting too little sleep has the same effect as being moderately intoxicated. Sleep deprived teenagers behind the wheel are just as dangerous as if they had consumed three or four drinks.

Why More School Districts Haven’t Adopted Later Start Dates

The answer appears to be due at least in part to logistics. Starting the school day later would shift the times students are dropped off in the morning and picked up in the afternoon. School bus schedules and carpool arrangements would need to be adjusted accordingly. Delaying the start of the school day would mean many working parents could no longer drop their kids off at school and still get to work on time. Because of increased ridership, school districts would need to purchase more very costly busses to accommodate those students who were no longer being dropped off by their parents or arriving by carpool.

Moving class starting times forward obviously means that the school day wouldn’t end until later. This would affect students who participate in sports and extracurricular activities, as well as those young people with after school part-time jobs. Despite these drawbacks, a RAND Corporation economic analysis concluded the benefits of later starting times would far outweigh any additional costs. According to their study, adopting school starting times of 8:30 a.m. or later could add $83 billion to the economy over the next ten years. The money result from higher graduation rates producing more skilled workers, along with a decrease in the costs of health care and auto accidents involving sleep-deprived teenagers.

As more research is conducted into the relationship between sleep and academic performance, look for an increasing number of school districts throughout California and the rest of the country to delay school starting times.