Stress may not be the only reason that Americans are struggling to sleep

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety
(Psalm 4:8 ESV)

A few weeks back, I got a watch that tracks how much I slept. I am not entirely sure how accurate it is, but I have struggled with sleep recently, so I have started focussing on it a bit more.

And when it comes to sleep issues, it appears I am not alone.

A Gallup Poll released in April found that many Americans are having the same problem, as only 42% stated that they get enough sleep during the night, Fox News reports, and 57% admitted they would feel better if they got more sleep.

The same poll found that 63% of those who reported needing more sleep also stated that they ‘frequently experienced stress.’

In her article for Fox News, Angelica Stabile adds that the American Psychological Association reports a “strong connection between stress and sleep quality.”

A lot has changed over the past few years, as those percentages have completely reversed. Ten years ago, a similar poll found that 56% of Americans said that they got enough sleep, while 43% said they would feel better with more sleep.

Certainly, we have more things to stress about in recent years, with COVID, civil unrest, politics, rising prices, and wars and rumors of wars.

While stress seems to be a major contributing factor to our lack of sleep, I am not sure if this fully explains it.

The reason I say this is that stress is part of life. We will always face stress in a fallen world.

Back in 1942, at the height of World War II, when Nazi Germany was making major advances across Europe, 59% of Americans were getting eight hours of sleep a night and only 3% stated they got five or fewer hours.

Though this was arguably one of the most stressful times in world history, most Americans were having a sound sleep.

As a comparison today, only 25% of Americans get eight hours and 20% stated they get less than five.

Is today more stressful than 1942?

I don’t think so.

The difference is simple. Back in 1942, most Americans were going to church, praying, and trusting God.

The difference is not the amount of stress, but rather how we handle it.

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