Canada Sleep Statistics

Canada snores--the stats don't lie.
Canada Sleep Statistics
Tom Greenspan
February 7, 2024

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Many Canadians find themselves lying in bed reading or tossing and turning, waiting for dawn to break due to an increasing prevalence of insomnia. But hold on, insomnia is not the only cause of sleepless nights. Canadians see a significant uptick in sleep apnea, a dangerous condition that not only interrupts your sleep and leaves you feeling exhausted but can lead to more serious health conditions.

Did you know that increasing body weight significantly affects your sleep and not only increasing weight but where you carry the weight? If males have a neck circumference of more than 17 inches and females 16 inches, you are in the apnea danger zone.

This article examines Canadian sleep statistics to bring you the salient points for making decisive decisions about your health and how you can improve your sleep patterns.

We will provide factual information on how you can enhance your sleep hygiene.

Let's get into it.

Does sleep deprivation burden Canada economically?

(1)Canada loses approximately 6 million working hours due to sleep disorders.

In Canada, the costs of insomnia symptoms were $1.9 billion, $12.6 million, and $1.9 billion in 2021, respectively. This amount equals 1.9% of Canada's overall cost of illness burden in 2021. Type 2 diabetes ($754 million) and depression ($706 million) were the 2 most expensive chronic disorders linked to insomnia symptoms. 

(2)Prescription medications were the most significant factor in the expense of type 2 diabetes and depression. A 5% reduction in insomnia symptoms (from 23.8% to 18.8%) would result in an estimated $353 million in costs that would not have been incurred. In contrast, a 5% rise in insomnia symptoms (from 23.8% to 28.8%) would result in an estimated $333 million in costs that would have been incurred.

Is sleep deprivation considered to be a public health issue?

Many public health issues are caused by inadequate sleep. For instance, there are unmistakable connections between sleep deprivation and seven of the top fifteen killers in the United States, such as accidents, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cerebrovascular disease.

Additionally, getting too little sleep has a negative impact on cognition and productivity. When we are exhausted, we don't think or work as clearly. Numerous tragic events, including the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Chernobyl nuclear accident, were caused by insufficient sleep.

Other industrialized nations like the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, and the US are also affected by the issue of insufficient sleep, which is not just a Canadian issue. Evidence suggests that the percentage of people who get less sleep than the advised amount is increasing and is linked to problems related to a modern 24/7 society, including psychosocial stress, alcoholism, smoking, lack of physical activity, and excessive use of electronic media, among others.

How much sleep should you be getting?

A loss of energy, problems remembering things, a shortened attention span, sluggish thinking, decreased sex drive, poor decision-making, irritability, daytime sleepiness, and other mood changes might result from insufficient sleep.

Depending on your age, you'll require a different quantity of sleep, but generally speaking, kids need more sleep than adults to maintain their growth and development. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided a helpful chart on the amount of sleep that people should get depending on their age:

How do you know if you have a sleep disorder?

According to (4) Abhinav Singh, MD, the Indiana Sleep Center medical director, "sleep disorders are a group of illnesses that are defined by either insufficient or poor quality sleep." "In some cases, this can involve poor wakefulness that impairs the ability to perform at your best during the day."

When a person exhibits specific symptoms, such as trouble falling asleep at night and excessive daytime sleepiness, a healthcare expert can determine whether they have a sleep disorder. 

The diagnosis can often be obtained after your doctor's complete clinical evaluation, which typically entails a detailed history of the presenting issues, sleep logs, and sometimes sleep studies.

There are more than 100 identified sleep disorders. These are some of the most common:

  • Sleeplessness, particularly long-term insomnia.
  • Breathing problems associated with sleep, such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia are examples of central diseases of hypersomnolence.
  • Jet lag and delayed sleep-wake phase disorder are examples of circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders.
  • Rapid eye movement (REM) behaviour disorder, sleep paralysis, and other parasomnias.
  • Movement issues brought on by sleep, such as restless legs syndrome.
  • Further sleep problems.

How prevalent are sleep disorders in Canada?

Sleep disorders are increasing at an alarming rate, and citizens should be concerned about them.

  • Sleep issues have been diagnosed in 30% of survey respondents (SingleCare, 2021).
  • In the United States, 50 to 70 million persons suffer from a sleep issue (American Sleep Association [ASA], 2021).
  • Canadians sleep an average of 7.9 hours per night, according to a 2020 survey.
  • Most people who don't get enough sleep are in the 35–64 age group.
  • According to 61% of Canadians, their sleep is of good quality.
  • Lack of sleep contributes to 21% of automobile crashes. (4)
  • The risk of developing coronary heart disease rises by 48% when sleep duration is less than 6 hours regularly.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea affects 2.2% of Canadians and causes sleeplessness in 30% of people.
  • Chronic stress and sleep deprivation are related, with 36.3% of those who sleep less than recommended reporting ongoing depression.
  • Purchasing a new mattress can enhance your sleep quality by up to 55%.
  • Just two drinks before bed can reduce the quality of your sleep by 39.2%.

Sleep deprivation and car accidents

The statistics are startling regarding vehicle accidents and the number of unnecessary deaths caused by sleep deprivation.

According to sleep research, up to 20% of Canadians have dozed off behind the wheel. Around 21% of traffic accidents result from drowsy driving or genuine sleepy driving. The likelihood of falling asleep while driving was highest among those who slept for fewer than six hours.

(5)Every hour of sleep lost raises the likelihood of an automobile accident. A car collision was more likely to be caused by someone who had slept six hours than someone who had slept less than four hours, which was 15.1 times more likely to cause one.

Each year, 400 people die in crashes brought on by being too tired to drive or falling asleep at the wheel, and 2,100 more suffer serious injuries.

Does sleep deprivation contribute to other illnesses?

Yes, sleep deprivation has an impact on your immune system. According to studies, those who don't get enough or good sleep are more likely to become ill after contracting a virus like the one that causes the common cold. If you become ill, lack of sleep may slow your recovery.

Your(5) immune system produces proteins called cytokines while you sleep, some of which aid in sleep promotion. Some cytokines need to rise when you have an infection, inflammation, or stress. 

Lack of sleep may result in less of these protective cytokines being produced. Additionally, when you don't get enough sleep, your body produces fewer cells and antibodies to fight infections when you don't get enough sleep.

Your body, therefore, requires sleep to combat infectious infections. Long-term sleep deprivation also raises your risk of developing diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

How many hours of sleep are necessary to strengthen your immune system? Seven to eight hours of restful sleep every night is ideal for most adults. Teens require nine to ten hours of sleep per night. School-age children may require 10 hours or more of sleep.

But getting more rest isn't always a good idea. Adults who sleep for longer than nine to ten hours each night may experience poorer sleep quality, including trouble falling or staying asleep.

However, Sleep deprivation can have severe consequences for your health as listed below (6):

How does a lack of sleep impact Canadians?

Sleep deprivation will eventually have a detrimental effect on the other pillars of health. It may make it more difficult for you to maintain a healthy diet and/or a regular exercise routine. 

For instance, lack of sleep impairs your ability to regulate your blood sugar, causing you to crave carbohydrates (sugary food). Late dinners, snacks, and a high-sugar diet will reduce sleep quality. 

Lack of sleep also affects mood and motivation, which may affect how frequently you engage in physical activity or prevent you from starting. Your sleep quality will suffer due to this decreased physical activity, worsening your already existing sleep deficit.

All these cumulative effects, as well as the accumulation of stress and an inability to manage your emotions related to sleep deprivation, could eventually lead to insomnia problems, such as difficulty falling asleep at night, fragmentation of your sleep or the inability to sleep for long periods at night.

Here are the consequences as you slide into the vortex of lack of sleep (6):

Sleep hygiene

There are ways you can self help to create a better sleeping environment such as:

  • Setting up your sleeping environment is one of the first things to do. Try to have a comfy mattress and cool bedding because the REM or dreaming stage of sleep is a lighter level of rest that can be more readily disturbed.
  • According to science, temperatures between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for sleeping (15 to 20 degrees Celsius).

  • Create a sleep routine that includes a warm bath or shower, reading, or relaxing music. Alternatively, you may try yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or simple stretches.
  • Your brain is being taught how to relax by you.
  • And follow through. Even on weekends or days off, the CDC recommends that you go to bed and rise at the same time each day. The body enjoys consistency.
  • At dusk, the hormone melatonin that promotes sleep starts to secrete. Get rid of any light, including the blue light from your smartphone or laptop that is charging, as research has shown that exposure to light will cause the body to produce melatonin to slow or halt. If your room isn't sufficiently dark.
  • What if you enjoy reading to fall asleep? Experts advise reading from a physical book instead of a tablet or e-reader in low light.
  • Turn off any work alarms while dealing with the blue light from your smartphone (no Slack or email pings at 2 a.m.).
  • Even better, simply charge the device outside of your bedroom.
  • If you live in a busy city, playing white noise or turning on a fan in your bedroom may help block out any loud noises that could otherwise wake you up.

Avoid becoming sleep deprived at all costs: If you try these strategies and still find it difficult to unwind or if your sleep quality worsens, be sure to see your doctor or a mental health expert.