Getting Enough Sleep?
35% of U.S. adults do not get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep continues to be a problem in the U.S.
Are you one of those adults? Learn more about your risk and how many adults don’t get enough sleep in the U.S.
How much sleep do we need and what can happen when we’re not getting enough?
Sleep is an important part of good health.1 Sleeping less than 7 hours per night is linked to increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and poor mental health, as well as early death.2-4 Not getting the recommended amount of sleep can affect your ability to make good decisions and increases the chances of motor vehicle crashes.1
According to professional sleep societies, adults aged 18 to 60 years should sleep at least 7 hours each night for the best health and wellness.5
How much sleep are we getting?
About 1 in 3 (an estimated 83 million) U.S. adults reported usually sleeping less than 7 hours in a 24-hour period, based on data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey that was done in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Not getting enough sleep is a problem that affects a large number of Americans. If you are not getting enough sleep, you should make sleep a priority and practice good sleep habits. You should also talk to your healthcare provider about how much sleep you get and any other sleep problems you might have.
Does your part of the country get enough sleep?
In the darker blue states (mostly Great Plains states), a greater percentage of adults are getting the recommended amount of sleep.
In the lighter blue states (mostly southeastern U.S. and along the Appalachian Mountains), a lower percentage of adults are getting the recommended amount of sleep.
Age-adjusted percentage of adults who reported 7 or more hours of sleep per 24-hour period, by state – Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2014
- 56.1-62.1: Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Indiana, South Carolina, New York, West Virginia, Ohio
- 62.2-64.0: Delaware, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, New Jersey, Tennessee, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Nevada, Virginia
- 64.1-67.0: Florida, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Alaska, Massachusetts, Illinois, Missouri, California, Arizona, Texas
- 67.1-68.7: Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, District of Columbia, Wisconsin, New Mexico, North Dakota, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming
- 68.8-71.6: Iowa, Vermont, Kansas, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, South Dakota
Who is at higher risk for not getting enough sleep?
Everyone is at risk of not getting enough sleep, but the risk is higher for shift workers. Shift work— any shift outside normal daylight hours, such as night shift, evening shift, or rotating shift — is more common for some occupations:
- Medical professionals (doctors and nurses)
- Emergency response workers
- Transportation industry workers (truck drivers)
- Workers in the manufacturing, hospitality, or retail industries
How can you get healthy sleep?
Some habits that can improve your sleep health:
- Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
- Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
- Avoid tobacco/nicotine
- Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
Keep a journal of your sleep patterns to discuss with your doctor.
If you still have trouble sleeping, discuss your sleep with your doctor. Before your appointment, keep a 10-day sleep journal or diary to share with your doctor that includes when you:
- Go to bed
- Fall asleep
- Wake up
- Get out of bed
- Take naps
- Drink alcohol
- Consume caffeine-containing beverages
If you have symptoms of a sleep disorder, such as snoring or being very sleepy during the day after a full night’s sleep, make sure to tell your doctor.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research; Colten HR, Altevogt BM, editors. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2006.
- Grandner MA, Chakravorty S, Perlis ML, Oliver L, Gurubhagavatula I. Habitual sleep duration associated with self-reported and objectively determined cardiometabolic risk factors. Sleep Med 2014;15:42–50.
- Liu Y, Wheaton AG, Chapman DP, Croft JB. Sleep duration and chronic diseases among US adults age 45 years and older: evidence from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Sleep 2013;36:1421–1427.
- Gallicchio L, Kalesan B. Sleep duration and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Sleep Res 2009;18:148–158.
- Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, Bliwise DL, Buxton OM, Buysse D, et al. Joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society on the recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adults: methodology and discussion. Sleep 2015; 38(8):1161–1183.
- Page last reviewed: February 23, 2016
- Page last updated: February 23, 2016
- Content source:
- National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs