Why are American Women More Stressed, Exhausted than the Rest of the World?

🌺  Written by Brittany Ann

Seventy two percent of Americans believe America is either the greatest or one of the greatest countries in the world, according to a recent Pew research study.

After all, we have the freedom to elect our own leaders, enjoy free speech, access resources to help us thrive, and worship as we please — liberties we often take for granted.

And yet, the latest research from Gallup shows that Americans are more stressed and sleep deprived than ever before. This is particularly true of young American women, whose stress levels are higher than those throughout most of the entire world.

Why is this?


Majority of Americans Report Not Getting Enough Sleep

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Didn’t get enough sleep last night? You’re not alone.

For the first time in over two decades, Gallup reports, “A majority of U.S. adults, 57%, say they would feel better if they got more sleep, while 42% say they get as much sleep as they need. This is nearly a reversal of the figures last measured in 2013, when 56% of Americans got the sleep they needed and 43% did not.”

Americans know that they aren’t getting enough sleep, but many aren’t even trying to solve the problem. Instead, many accept their lack of sleep as inevitable or even wear it as a badge of honor, showing how hard they work and how important they are.


Americans are Sleeping Fewer Hours Than Ever Each Night

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Americans aren’t simply reporting that they’re more tired due to higher expectations, however. The same Gallup poll found that the average number of hours of sleep Americans get each night has dropped substantially from 2013 to 2023.

While the number of people who got at least eight hours of sleep did gradually increase from 1990 to 2013, the number then dropped dramatically. Only 26% of Americans got at least eight hours of sleep in 2023, compared to 34% in 2013 and 59% in 1942.

Conversely, the number of people who get five or less hours of sleep each night has gradually risen — from 14% in 1990 to 20% in 2024.

The data is clear: Americans are sleeping fewer hours each night on average than ever before. 


Women Get Even Less Sleep Than Men

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Both men and women report not getting enough sleep. However, the problem is significantly worse for women.

According to Gallup, “The latest poll finds 36% of women versus 48% of men saying they get the sleep they need.”

These are the lowest levels (for both groups) that Gallup has ever recorded, demonstrating that the problem is only worsening over the years.

When broken down by age and gender men over age 50 tend to get the most sleep, with 51% reporting getting all the sleep they need. This number isn’t good, but it’s significantly better than others are faring.

Only 27% of women ages 18 to 29 report getting enough sleep. 


America’s Stress Level is Rising, Especially for Women

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Collectively, American’s stress levels continue to rise year after year, despite a brief drop in 2003.

According to the American Psychological Association, stress and sleep are directly and inversely related. The less stress you have, the more sleep you get. And the more stress you have, the less sleep you get.

It comes as no surprise, then, that nearly half (49%) of Americans report that they “frequently experience stress in daily life.” Not all Americans are affected equally, however.

According to Gallup, “Younger women are the most likely of the four major gender-by-age groups to say they frequently experience stress, exceeding men their age by 14 points. They are also 29 points more likely than women 50 and older to report frequent stress.”


Why is America So Stressed?

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If America is the greatest (or one of the greatest) countries on earth, why are we so stressed?

While individual stressors vary from person to person, the American Psychological Association has identified several factors over the last few years that have significantly contributed to our collective stress as a nation. These include, among others:

  • inflation
  • violence and crime
  • the current political climate
  • the racial climate
  • feeling as though their rights are under attack


Why are American Women So Stressed?

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American young women, in particular, are under incredible amounts of stress.

In addition to the stressers listed previously, many women are trying to balance work and family, putting incredible amount of pressure on themselves to devote themselves to both without missing a beat.

Studies have shown — and women can testify — that they often face greater mental and emotional demands than men do, much of which can go unseen, unnoticed, and unappreciated.

Priory reports, “Women aged between 35-54… are likely to be juggling many roles including mother, carer for elderly parents, homemaker and sometimes breadwinner.”

In addition, Rosalind S. Dorlen, PsyD, ABPP, shares in the same article how men are more likely to cope through dissociation or avoidance, while women are more likely to internalize their stress, leading to greater numbers of physical and mental disorders.


How High Stress Affects Quality of Life

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Not all stress is bad. We need some level of stress to motivate ourselves to take action, get our work done, and avoid and escape danger.

However, chronic stress can wreak havoc on the body if left unchecked.

For example, high levels of stress or even low levels of chronic stress can lead to:

  • Mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Heart conditions, including high blood pressure, palpitations, or chest pain
  • Unwanted weight loss or weight gain
  • Muscle tension
  • Digestive issues
  • Fatigue
  • Cloudy thinking, confusion, or lack of focus
  • Decreased sex drive
  • And more


How to Combat High Stress Levels

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While it’s likely impossible (and unwise) to eliminate all sources of potential stress in your life, there are many practical steps you can take — no matter how busy or overwhelmed you are — to begin to significantly reduce your stress level.

These include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Exercising regularly
  • Forming close friendships and community
  • Reducing the amount of time spent on screens
  • Prioritizing sleep
  • Getting more sunshine during daylight hours
  • Talking to a licensed mental health professional
  • Taking medication, if needed
  • Setting boundaries at work and home
  • Asking for help, when possible
  • Lowering your expectations for yourself and others
  • Reducing contact with high-stress people or environments
  • Reading the Bible
  • Spending more time in prayer
  • Listening to calming music or sitting in silence
  • And many, many more.

Of course, you don’t need to do each of these things every single day. However, if you can choose a few to start to incorporate into your daily or weekly routine, it can make a huge difference.


Have You Prayed Today? 15 Short Prayers That Are Highly Effective

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Prayer is a powerful way to connect with the divine, seek guidance, and find solace in times of need. While long, heartfelt prayers have their place, short prayers can be equally effective in conveying our thoughts and feelings to a higher power.

These fifteen short prayers are highly effective and easy to incorporate into your daily life.

Have You Prayed Today? 15 Short Prayers That Are Highly Effective


How to Make Bible Reading a Daily Habit (Even if You’re Busy!)

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Getting in the habit of reading the Scriptures daily is actually easier than you might think…if you use the tips and a daily Bible reading plan in this post. Learning how to read the Bible can be fun and enjoyable!

Read How to Make Bible Reading a Daily Habit

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Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author and founder of Equipping Godly Women and Monetize My Ministry. She’s also a Christian speaker, podcaster, and conference host. Her work has been featured on numerous TV, radio, and online ministries, including CBN, MSN, Christianity Today, Evangelical Alliance, Patheos, Crosswalk, and more.

Brittany Ann Equipping Godly Women

About the author

Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author of “Fall in Love with God’s Word” and “Follow God’s Will” and the founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping busy Christian moms find practical ways to go "all in" in faith and family. Her work has been featured on CBN, The Christian Post, Crosswalk, and more.

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