A new survey from alarm clock smart phone app Sleep Cycle reveals that Americans turn to a number of foods, drinks, herbs, and bedtime rituals to get a good night’s sleep.
Americans are not shy about using foods, beverages or substances that might enhance their sleep quality. Perhaps surprisingly, herbal sleep aids—like tea and melatonin—top the list of favorites. And foods rich in calcium and magnesium—like bananas and ice cream—rank higher than prescription pharmaceutical sleep aids like Ambien. According to Sleep Cycle’s survey, the rankings are:
- Tea: 21%
- Melatonin: 15%
- Marijuana: 14%
- Milk and cookies: 14%
- Nyquil or Tylenol PM: 12%
- Bananas: 12%
- Soup: 11%
- Alcohol: 10%
- Ice cream: 10%
- Ambien, Xanax, or other sleeping pills: 9%
Americans also perform all kinds of rituals to get a good night’s sleep. Top rituals include: sleeping with a fan or white noise machine (28%), taking a hot bath or shower before bed (26%), and reading a relaxing book (21%). One in 10 also put away their phone or computer at least an hour before bed, but 28% sleep with their TV on all night.
- A full half of Americans (51%) say they wake up on their own each morning.
- Another third (37%) rely on an alarm clock app and a quarter (24%) get woken up by pets or kids. Almost 1 in 10 Americans (9%) say they don’t have a specific wake-up time.
- Two-thirds (66%) of Americans say they rarely or never have nightmares, while the remaining third (34%) have nightmares often or nightly.
- 23% of Americans said they would sleep better if former President Obama were back in the Oval Office, but 19% are not losing sleep over President Trump. About half as many (9%) would sleep more soundly if Bernie Sanders were running the show, but only a minority would get more rest if Hillary Clinton (6%), Oprah (5%), or J.K. Rowling (3%) were in office. About a third of Americans (32%) say their sleep would not improve regardless of who is in the White House.
- Americans would give up quite a lot for a full, uninterrupted 8 hours of quality sleep. Social media would be first to go (27%). This is followed by: chocolate (21%), streaming services or cable TV (13%), sex (11%), their fitness routine (10%).