The 5 States That Get the Most (and Least!) Sleep
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2017
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Does everyone you know brag about getting by on less than five hours of sleep? If so, there’s a good chance you live in Hawaii, Kentucky or Maryland. The CDC recently released new data about Americans’ self-reported average hours of sleep per night. It turns out that 35 percent of Americans are getting less than seven hours of snooze time, which is toeing the line on an unhealthy habit. Read on to find out which states are most sleep-deprived and which states have absolutely no trouble catching their ZZZs.
BEST SLEEP: #5 IDAHO
This state is a bit of a conundrum. Sixty-nine percent of people are getting a good night’s sleep, but Idaho still rates pretty low on the happy scale. At the same time, according the DrugAbuse.gov, it has one of the highest rates of non-medical prescription drug use in the nation. Could the Gem State be popping pills to get into dreamland? Then again, Idaho is the 7th least populated state, and fewer people means less noise and less exposure to light, both of which can interrupt circadian rhythms.
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BEST SLEEP: #4 NEBRASKA
With a population of 1.9 million, about half of the city of Los Angeles, Nebraska might be another of these states containing fewer people, fewer lights, fewer distractions. Overall health stats from the CDC also point to the fact that Nebraska ranks pretty low across the nation for conditions like heart diseases, flu, strokes, accidents, kidney disease and suicide.
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BEST SLEEP: #3 MINNESOTA
Our first thought: When it’s that cold for that much of the year, there’s not much else to do but sleep. Yet that’s the easy answer. What’s more interesting is the fact that Minneapolis ranked second in last year’s list of fittest cities, which indicated Minnesotans are plenty active. Don’t cha know?
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BEST SLEEP: #2 COLORADO
Could it be all that fresh mountain air? Not only are Colorado’s denizens well rested, but they’re also some of the happiest in the nation according to a 2015 Gallup poll. Denver also ranked as one of the fittest cities in 2015, suggesting that these Rocky Mountaineers might be onto something.
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BEST SLEEP: #1 SOUTH DAKOTA
In the home of Mt. Rushmore 71.6 percent of people get more than seven hours of sleep a night. Must be nice, right? According to NPR, South Dakota “might be doing better because they tend to have better health overall and generally have lower population densities.” Less light and fewer distractions make this state an excellent choice for anyone who’s a light sleeper.
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WORST SLEEP: #5 MICHIGAN
With recent stories like the lead-poisoned water in Flint and the state’s financial crisis and slow recovery, people in Michigan might have more to worry about than citizens in other states. And actually, NPR points out that stress may have an effect on lack of sleep in these five states that get the least REM.
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WORST SLEEP: #4 ALABAMA
One of the key findings from the CDC’s report was that of all racial groups, non-Hispanic Blacks get the least amount of sleep, after (spoiler alert!) Pacific Islanders. Only about 54 percent of African-Americans get more than seven hours a night. Of the five worst-sleeping states, Alabama has the largest population of people who identify as Black (26.2 percent according to the most recent census data).
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WORST SLEEP: #3 MARYLAND
As the 5th most densely populated state, Maryland is the little state that could… not get enough rest. Interestingly, the Census Bureau reported that Maryland households are the wealthiest in the entire nation. Mo’ money, mo’ problems, right? Are Maryland citizens too busy working for all that dough to get some pillowtime?
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WORST SLEEP: #2 KENTUCKY
Not only is the Bluegrass State ranked low for sleep, they’re not happy about it either. Kentucky is #49 in the Gallup poll of happiest states. Perhaps they’re exporting too much of their famous bourbon whiskey instead of toasting to the beauty of Kentucky’s many meadows and rivers, abundance of elk, wild turkeys, and productive coalfields -- then passing out for a good night’s sleep.
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WORST SLEEP: #1 HAWAII
Only 56 percent of Hawaiians are getting more than seven hours of sleep. But here’s the kicker: Hawaiians consider themselves the happiest people in the nation, two years running. Not only that, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index scored Hawaii as the highest in the nation for overall well-being. Which leads us to believe that life in the Aloha state is literally all rainbows and butterflies. They must all be cutting their sleep shorter to enjoy their lives, perhaps waking up before dawn to go surfing. Hang loose, Hawaiians! Just make sure to get enough snoozetime to stay healthy.
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