The West is best for sleep

January 3, 2018

Do you want to catch a few Zs? Go West, young man (or young woman). The five cities nationwide rated tops for a good night’s sleep all are west of the Mississippi (in order from number-one down): Colorado Springs, Colorado; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Boise, Idaho; Portland, Oregon; and Lincoln Nebraska.

That’s according to research results released in December by Tuck—a community for “advancing better sleep.”

The five worst are all on the East Coast: Detroit, Michigan; Newark, New Jersey, Birmingham, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And the all-time winner is—you guessed it—the “city that never sleeps”: New York, New York.

According to Tuck, a variety of factors impact how well we sleep, from our personal health and happiness, to environmental factors such air and noise pollution.

To determine the best and worst cities for sleep in the United States, Tuck looked at how cities rank on different factors related to sleep, including:

  • Sleep deprivation: Using 2014 survey data, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that 35.2% of Americans don’t get sufficient sleep on a regular basis. Hawaii reported the lowest levels of adequate sleep (at 56%), while South Dakota got the most sleep (at 72%). People living in the southeastern part of the United States and Appalachia reported the lowest amounts of sleep,
  • Obesity rates: More than one-third of American adults are obese, according to the CDC—a risk factor for higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and snoring, which interfere with sleep.
  • Unemployment rate: The researchers referenced the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics state unemployment numbers for June 2017, when the the national unemployment rate was 4.4%. Depression is linked to unemployment—and can result in both insomnia and disturbed sleep. The opposite also is true: Workaholics tend to suffer from sleep disorders.
  • Commute time: The average American spends 25.5 minutes each way commuting to work. How does your commute time impact your sleep? Workers with shorter commute times tend to be more productive and report more job satisfaction. Happier people fall asleep more easily. Tuck relied on a study by real estate website Trulia, which determined the average commute times for 50 major metropolitan areas.
  • Air quality: Allergies and asthma are risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea. In addition, air pollution makes it tougher to exercise outside—and lack of exercise can interfere with sleep. Each year, the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report lists the 25 cleanest and the 25 most polluted cities, based on levels of ozone; as well as short-term particle, and year-round particle, pollution.
  •  Light pollution: Light pollution interferes with your body’s circadian rhythms; confusing your brain about when it’s time to release hormones like melatonin, which induce sleep. Over 99% of Americans live under light-polluted skies—especially in the large cities along the Eastern seaboard.
  • Ongoing construction: Finally, many American cities are in a period of growth right now. While this bodes well for the economy, it’s not so great for sleep.

 Research contact: @keithcushner

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