Over one-third of adult Americans report not getting the recommended amount of sleep.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta has released the first published report that documents state-based estimates of self-reported healthy sleep duration for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and the numbers show that nationally, over one-third of United States citizens fail to get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
The CDC’s report found an average of 65.2 percent of Americans reported getting more than the seven-plus hours of sleep per night, which is considered best for optimal health. Less than that amount has been associated with impaired cognitive performance, which can increase the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents and on-the-job injuries, and lost work productivity. Loss of sleep has also been associated with an increased risk of disease, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke and frequent mental distress.
The CDC analyzed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to determine the prevalence of healthy sleep among the 444,306 non-institutionalized adults in every state and the District of Columbia. The survey found non-Hispanic blacks, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and multi-racial populations to have lower prevalence of healthy sleep than non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics and Asians.
The survey also noted the area with the lowest percentage of healthy sleep was the southeastern United States, and along the Appalachian Mountains, with the highest percentage being found across the Great Plain states. The survey discussion noted the same areas with the lowest healthy sleep were also the areas with previous estimates of prevalence of obesity and diabetes, and death rates from heart disease and stroke.
The discussion warns the study has some limitations, particularly, the information was obtained by self-reporting and not corroborated by actual sleep measurements, but the authors say the findings point to a need to raise awareness of the health benefits of healthy sleep, especially in the areas where there were high percentages of less than the recommended amount.
The study recommends developing good sleeping habits, such as going to bed and rising at the same time each day, making sure the sleeping environment is conducive to good sleep, limiting exposure to electronic devices before going to bed, and avoiding large meals, caffeine, and nicotine before bedtime. The authors say keeping a sleep journal or diary will help you determine if you are getting the sleep you need.
To see how your state performed in the survey, see the CDC’s report here.