The state where you live may say a lot about how well you sleep—or don’t.
About a third of American adults regularly sleep less than seven hours a night. That’s a problem. Sleep experts widely agree that while individual sleep needs vary somewhat, sleeping between 7-9 hours a night is essential for most people, to protect our health and allow us to function—and feel—at our best.
And there are some major health consequences associated with sleeping too little. When we don’t get enough sleep, our risks for diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer can go up. We’re also at greater risk for depression and anxiety, and at higher risk for accidents.
Those national averages tell part of the sleep story. But it turns out that across the nation, not all of us are sleeping the same.
The Centers for Disease Control studies the sleep habits of Americans, and that data tells us a lot about how we sleep, from state to state.
What’s the “best” state for sleep?
South Dakota. Only 29 percent of adults report not getting sufficient sleep (that’s a minimum of 7 hours) in this Plains state. States in the Midwest and West crowd the top of the list of best states for sleep. Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Kansas, and Iowa all join South Dakota in the top 10 best-sleeping states.
What’s the “worst” state for sleep?
This one might surprise you, like it did me. The state with the highest percentage of people reporting insufficient sleep is … Hawaii. More than 44 percent of Hawaiians report sleeping less than 7 hours. The rest of the bottom 10 of the list is mix of Southern, Eastern and Midwestern states, including Kentucky, Maryland, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, New York, Ohio and Delaware.
What about the rest of us?
I live in New England, so I was especially interested in seeing how my region ranked. Vermont is currently the best sleeping state in New England, and ranks 10th overall. Slightly less than one-third of Vermonters report sleeping less than 7 hours a night. Vermont is followed by New Hampshire (19), Maine (20), Massachusetts (26), Connecticut (28) and Rhode Island (34).
Oregon is the first West Coast state to make an appearance, clocking in at number 12 on the list, followed by Washington (14) and California (23). Alaska ranks 27th in the nation for sleep.
Five states that are home to the largest U.S. cities all fall within the middle of the pack when it comes to sleep. In addition to New York and California, Illinois (25), Texas (21) and Pennsylvania (39) all miss the top 10 list and also avoid the bottom 10 rankings.
Don’t see your state here? Check out the full list of the state rankings for sleep.
Written by Caitlin Reynolds