Sleeping less than seven hours per night is associated with an increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, frequent mental distress, and death. It also impairs cognitive performance, which can increase the likelihood of motor vehicle and other transportation accidents, industrial accidents, medical errors, and loss of work productivity that could affect the wider community A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on February 19 notes that more than one third of Americans fall into that category.
For the study, the CDC reviewed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to determine the prevalence of a healthy sleep duration (seven hours or less) among 444,306 adult respondents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The majority (65.2%) of respondents reported a healthy sleep duration. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, and Asians, the age-adjusted prevalence of healthy sleep was lower among non-Hispanic blacks, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and multiracial respondents. State-based estimates of healthy sleep duration prevalence ranged from 56.1% in Hawaii to 71.6% in South Dakota. Geographic clustering of the lowest prevalence of healthy sleep duration was observed in the southeastern United States and in states along the Appalachian Mountains. The highest prevalence was observed in the Great Plains states.
The survey respondents were asked, “On average, how many hours of sleep do you get in a 24-hour period?” Among 444,306 respondents, 11.8% reported a sleep duration of five hours or less, 23.0% reported six hours, 29.5% reported seven hours, 27.7% reported eight hours, 4.4% reported 9 hours, and 3.6% reported 10 or more hours. Overall, 65.2% reported the recommended healthy sleep duration (age-adjusted prevalence:64.9%). The age-specific prevalence of sleeping seven hours or more was highest among respondents aged 65 years or older (73.7%) compared to other age groups.
More than one third of U.S. respondents reported typically sleeping less than seven hours in a 24-hour period; thus, suggesting an ongoing need for public awareness and public education regarding: sleep health; worksite shift policies that ensure healthy sleep duration for shift workers, particularly medical professionals, emergency response personnel, and transportation industry personnel; and opportunities for healthcare providers to discuss the importance of healthy sleep duration with patients and address reasons for poor sleep health.