Take our sleep quiz

Published: July 2012

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See how your sleep habits compare with those of 26,451 Consumer Reports readers by taking our 10-question quiz. Check your answers against the survey results at the bottom of this page.

1. How many hours of sleep did people get on a typical night?

A. 6 hours or less
About 7 hours
C. About 8 hours
D. 9 or more hours

2. What percentage of people said they have sleep problems (trouble falling or staying asleep, or waking up feeling tired, three or more days a week)?

A. 0 to 25 percent
B. 26 to 50 percent
C. 51 to 75 percent
D. 76 to 100 percent

3. Among people who reported sleep problems, how long do you think they’d been grappling with them, on average?

A. 1 to 2 years
B. 3 to 5 years
C. 6 to 10 years
D. More than 10 years

4. Which treatments were most commonly used for sleep problems?

A. Regular exercise
B. Over-the-counter medications such as Advil PM, NyQuil, or Tylenol PM
C. Prescription medications such as Ambien, Lunesta, Restoril, or Xanax
D. Melatonin or valerian supplements

5. Which treatments were the most helpful?

A. Prescription medications (Ambien, etc.)
B. Over-the-counter medications (NyQuil, Tylenol PM, etc.)
C. Melatonin or valerian supplements
D. Exercise
E. Meditation or yoga

6. What percentage of people taking sleep drugs experienced side effects?

A. 0 to 25 percent
B. 26 to 50 percent
C. 51 to 75 percent
D. 76 to 100 percent

7. Which of these behaviors was more common among good sleepers than bad sleepers?

A. Ate a small snack before bed.
B. Kept the television or radio off at bedtime (or didn’t have one in the room).
C. Avoided alcohol or caffeine within several hours of bedtime.
D. Had sex before trying to go to sleep.

8. Which of these alternative or do-it-yourself methods did people find most helpful?

A. A white-noise machine
B. Nasal strips
C. Aromatherapy

9. How many people saw a doctor or other health professional about their sleep problems?

A. 0 to 25 percent
B. 26 to 50 percent
C. 51 to 75 percent
D. 76 to 100 percent

10. Which health professionals were deemed most helpful in treating sleep problems by the people who went to them?

A. Pulmonologists
B. Sleep specialists
C. Psychiatrists
D. All of the above


  1. B. The average hours of sleep our respondents said they got in a typical evening was 6.8. Most people need 7 to 9 hours for their bodies to properly recharge. The good news: More than 60 percent of readers said they got at least 7 hours a night.
  2. C. Fifty-nine percent of readers we surveyed, or a total of 15,567 people, said they had difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or woke up feeling unrested, three or more times per week. The most common problem was staying asleep.
  3. D. Sleep-challenged respondents said they’d suffered from sleep problems for an average of 12 years. And two-thirds of problem sleepers described their problems as chronic.
  4. Trick question: Both A and B are correct. Regular exercise and OTC medications were both used by about 40 percent of respondents with sleep problems, followed by prescription medications (30 percent) and melatonin or valerian (26 percent).
  5. A. People who tried newer prescription sleep drugs such as Ambien and Lunesta or older sleep aids known as benzodiazepines (Restoril, Halcion) were the most likely to say they “helped a lot” (71 percent and 67 percent, respectively), compared with just over 40 percent for OTC options. Only about 30 percent of people who tried melatonin or valerian said they helped a lot. For people looking for a natural remedy, it might make more sense to try meditation, yoga, or regular exercise, which were about as effective as the supplements and have numerous other benefits.
  6. B. Nearly half of people who took prescription or OTC drugs to help them sleep reported side effects. The most common effect was next-day drowsiness or grogginess. Reduced effectiveness of the medication with repeated use was also common. About 10 percent of people taking newer prescription sleep aids like Ambien reported memory loss, and 6 percent reported problematic sleep behaviors like sleep-driving, sleep-walking, or sleep-eating while on the meds.
  7. D. Thirty-three percent of people who reported no problems sleeping said they had engaged in sexual activity before bedtime in the past month, compared with 25 percent of problem sleepers—not a huge difference, but a statistically significant one.
  8. A. About one in five problem sleepers had tried using a white-noise machine, which blocks out distracting sounds. Of them, 43 percent said the machine had helped a lot. Fewer people had tried nasal strips or aromatherapy (6 percent and 8 percent, respectively). Those treatments were also less likely to be deemed very helpful—23 percent of nasal strip users and a dismal 9 percent of those who tried aromatherapy said they helped a lot.
  9. B. Overall, 33 percent, or one-third, of people with sleep problems had visited a health professional for help in the past 3 years. People were most likely to go to their primary-care physician (78 percent), followed by a physician or osteopath (M.D. or D.O.) who specialized in sleep (38 percent).
  10. D. Pulmonologists (who treat breathing disorders, some of which can affect sleep), sleep specialists, and psychiatrists were almost equally likely to be rated as having “helped a lot” (42 percent, 41 percent, and 38 percent, respectively). About one-quarter of people who went to a neurologist, alternative treatment practitioner, or primary-care physician said the same—though our experts said it still makes sense for most people to start with their primary-care doctor, then get a referral from there if needed.

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