More than one-third of the adults in the U.S. report sleeping less than seven hours in a 24-hour period: A CDC study
Leo Sher, M.D.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years should sleep at least 7 hours each night. Sleeping less than 7 hours per night is associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, psychiatric disorders, and all-cause mortality. Insufficient sleep impairs cognitive functioning, which can increase the likelihood of motor vehicle and other accidents, medical errors, and loss of work productivity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have called inadequate sleep a public health problem.
A recent CDC study analyzed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to determine the prevalence of healthy sleep duration (at least 7 hours) among about 450,000 adult respondents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (1). Survey respondents were asked, “On average, how many hours of sleep do you get in a 24-hour period?” The research group found that 64.9% of the respondents sleep more than 7 hours every day which indicates that more than one-third of the adults in the U.S. sleep less than seven hours in a 24-hour period. The state with the lowest reported amount of sleep was Hawaii (56.1%), and the states with the highest reported amount of sleep were South Dakota (71.6%), Colorado (71.5%) and Minnesota (70.8%). The percentage of adults sleeping more than 7 hours in a 24-hour period in New Jersey and New York was 62.8% and 61.6%, respectively. The prevalence of healthy sleep duration in the U.S. was highest among people with a college degree or higher (71.5%).
Sleep problems are widespread in the U.S. and around the world, affecting adults, adolescents, and children alike. The artificial lights in computer and television screens are a well-known cause of insomnia.
The CDC study results suggest the need for public awareness and education about sleep health. Evaluation and monitoring of sleep should be an important task of health care professionals.
The CDC is a U.S. Federal Agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC website states that “CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same” (2). The CDC is headquartered in DeKalb County, Georgia. The CDC was formed in 1946.
1. Liu Y, Wheaton AG, Chapman DP, Cunningham TJ, Lu H, Croft JB. Prevalence of Healthy Sleep Duration among Adults — United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:137–141. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6506a1