Data and Statistics

Short Sleep Duration Among US Adults

Adults need 7 or more hours of sleep per night for the best health and wellbeing.1 Short sleep duration is defined as less than 7 hours of sleep per 24-hour period.

Geographic Variation in Short Sleep Duration

Figure 1 shows the age-adjusted percentage of adults who reported short sleep duration (less than 7 hours of sleep per 24-hour period), by state in the United States in 2014. The percentage varies considerably by state, from <30% in Colorado, South Dakota, and Minnesota to ≥40% in Kentucky and Hawaii. The highest percentages were in the southeastern United States and in states along the Appalachian Mountains. The lowest percentages were in the Great Plains states.

Figure 1. Age-Adjusted Prevalence of Short Sleep Duration (<7 hours) Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years, by State, United States, 2014

Map of age-adjusted prevalence of short sleep duration (<7 hours) in the United States in 2014 by state. State prevalences are grouped into quartiles. Lowest quartile (28.5%-31.9%): Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming. Second quartile (32.0%-34.9%): Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin. Third quartile (35.0%-37.9%): Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia. Highest quartile (38.0%-44.1%): Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, West Virginia. Geographic clustering of the highest prevalence of short sleep duration was observed in the southeastern United States and in states along the Appalachian Mountains, and the lowest prevalence was observed in the Great Plains states.

 

 

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The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) provides data critical for monitoring national and state population health. However, the BRFSS surveys do not have sufficient samples to produce direct survey estimates for most counties or sub-county areas. Therefore, we used BRFSS data to estimate short sleep duration prevalence at different geographic levels, including counties, congressional districts, and census tracts (see Figures 2, 3 and 4) using a previously developed model.2 These estimates could be used in a variety of contexts and meet the diverse small-area health data needs of local policy makers, program planners, and communities for public health program planning and evaluation.

Figure 2. Prevalence of Short Sleep Duration (<7 hours) for Adults Aged ≥ 18 Years, by County, United States, 2014

Map displaying model-based prevalence of short sleep duration (<7 hours), by county in the United States, 2014. Data sources for development of model included CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2014), the U.S. Census (2010), and the American Community Survey (2010-2014). County short sleep prevalence estimates ranged from 24.3% to 48.5%.

 

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Learn how the counties in your state rank in prevalence of short sleep duration (insufficient sleep) at the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps websiteExternal.

Figure 3. Prevalence of Short Sleep Duration (<7 hours) for Adults Aged ≥ 18 Years, by Congressional District, United States, 2014

Map displaying model-based prevalence of short sleep duration (<7 hours), by census tract in the United States, 2014. Data sources for development of model included CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2014), the U.S. Census (2010), and the American Community Survey (2010-2014). Census tract short sleep prevalence estimates ranged from 24.9% to 47.3%.

 

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Figure 4. Prevalence of Short Sleep Duration (<7 hours) for Adults Aged ≥ 18 Years, by Census Tract, United States, 2014

Map displaying model-based prevalence of short sleep duration (<7 hours), by census tract in the United States, 2014. Data sources for development of model included CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2014), the U.S. Census (2010), and the American Community Survey (2010-2014). Census tract short sleep prevalence estimates ranged from 19.8% to 59.8%.

 

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Explore the variation in short sleep duration by census tract at the 500 Cities: Local Data for Better Health website.

 

Short Sleep Duration by Sex, Age, and Race/Ethnicity

In 2014, short sleep duration (less than 7 hours) was less common among respondents aged ≥65 years (26.3%) compared with other age groups (see Table 1). The age-adjusted prevalence of short sleep duration was higher among Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (46.3%), non-Hispanic blacks (45.8%), multiracial non-Hispanics (44.3%), and American Indians/Alaska Natives (40.4%) compared with non-Hispanic whites (33.4%), Hispanics (34.5%), and Asians (37.5%). Short sleep prevalence did not differ between men and women.

Table 1. Short Sleep Duration (<7 Hours) by Sex, Age, and Race/Ethnicity — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2014

Characteristic % 95% Confidence Interval
All Adultsa 35.2 (34.9–35.5)
Sexa
Men 35.5 (35.1–36.0)
Women 34.8 (34.4–35.2)
Age (Years)
18–24 32.2 (31.3–33.2)
25–34 37.9 (37.1–38.7)
35–44 38.3 (37.5–39.1)
45–54 39.0 (38.3–39.6)
55–64 35.6 (34.9–36.2)
≥65 26.3 (25.8–26.8)
Race/Ethnicitya
White 33.4 (33.0–33.7)
Hispanic 34.5 (33.6–35.5)
Black 45.8 (44.9–46.8)
Asian 37.5 (35.2–39.7)
American Indian/Alaska Native 40.4 (37.9–43.0)
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 46.3 (39.9–52.8)
Other/Multiracial 44.3 (42.4–46.2)

aAge-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.

Health Risk Factors by Sleep Duration

Adults who were short sleepers (less than 7 hours of sleep per 24-hour period) were more likely to report being obese, physically inactive, and current smokers compared to people who got enough sleep (7 or more hours per 24-hour period) (see Table 2).

Table 2. Age-Adjusteda Percentage Reporting Health Risk Factors by Sleep Duration—Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2014

Short sleep
(<7 hours)

Sufficient sleep
(≥7 hours)

Health risk factor Definition % 95% CI % 95% CI
Obese Body Mass Index ≥30 kg/m2 33.0 (32.5–33.5) 26.5 (26.2–26.9)
Physically inactive No leisure time physical activity in past 30 days 27.2 (26.8–27.7) 20.9 (20.6–21.2)
Current smoker Currently smoke cigarettes every day or some days 22.9 (22.4–23.4) 14.9 (14.6–15.2)
Excessive alcohol Underage drinker, binge drinker, or heavy drinkerb 19.4 (18.9–19.8) 19.1 (18.7–19.4)

Abbreviations: CI = confidence interval.

aAge-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.

bUnderage drinker is defined as any alcohol use among those aged 18–20 yrs. Binge drinker is defined as ≥4 drinks for women and ≥5 drinks for men during a single occasion. Heavy drinker is defined as ≥8 drinks for women and ≥15 drinks for men per week.
All differences statistically significant at p<0.05 except excessive alcohol.

 

Chronic Health Conditions by Sleep Duration

Adults who were short sleepers (less than 7 hours per 24-hour period) were more likely to report 10 chronic health conditions compared to those who got enough sleep (7 or more hours per 24-hour period) (see Table 3).

Table 3. Age-Adjusteda Percentage Reporting Chronic Health Conditions by Sleep Duration—Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2014

Short sleep
(<7 hours)

Sufficient sleep
(≥7 hours)

Chronic condition % 95% CI % 95% CI
Heart attack 4.8 (4.6–5.0) 3.4 (3.3–3.5)
Coronary heart disease 4.7 (4.5–4.9) 3.4 (3.3–3.5)
Stroke 3.6 (3.4–3.8) 2.4 (2.3–2.5)
Asthma 16.5 (16.1–16.9) 11.8 (11.5–12.0)
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) 8.6 (8.3–8.9) 4.7 (4.6–4.8)
Cancer 10.2 (10.0–10.5) 9.8 (9.7–10.0)
Arthritis 28.8 (28.4–29.2) 20.5 (20.2–20.7)
Depression 22.9 (22.5–23.3) 14.6 (14.3–14.8)
Chronic kidney disease 3.3 (3.1–3.5) 2.2 (2.1–2.3)
Diabetes 11.1 (10.8–11.4) 8.6 (8.4–8.8)

Abbreviations: CI = confidence interval.

aAge-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.
The prevalence of each condition is significantly higher (p<0.05) for persons reporting short sleep compared with those reporting sufficient sleep.

Links for sleep data:

Chronic Disease Indicators: prevalence of sufficient sleep among adults (Category: Overarching Conditions)
County Health RankingsExternal
: prevalence of insufficient sleep among adults (Measures: Health Behaviors)
State Fact Sheets: State-specific maps and data on short sleep duration.

 

Short Sleep Duration Among High School Students

Adolescents need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night.3 But, more than two-thirds of US high school students report getting less than 8 hours of sleep on school nights (see Table 4).4 Female students are more likely to report not getting enough sleep than male students. Short sleep duration (<8 hours) is lowest among 9th graders and highest among 12th graders. Prevalence of short sleep duration also varies by race/ethnicity, with the lowest prevalence among American Indian/Alaska Native students and the highest among Asian students.

Table 4. Short Sleep Duration by Selected Characteristics—
Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2007–2013.

Short sleep duration (<8 hours)
Characteristic %a 95% Confidence Interval
Total 68.8 (68.0–69.6)
Survey year
2007 69.0 (67.0–70.9)
2009 69.1 (67.5–70.6)
2011 68.6 (67.2–69.9)
2013 68.4 (66.9–69.9)
Sex
Female 71.3 (70.4–72.1)
Male 66.4 (65.4–67.4)
Grade
9th 59.7 (58.6–60.8)
10th 67.4 (66.1–68.8)
11th 73.3 (72.0–74.5)
12th 76.6 (75.4–77.8)
Race/ethnicity
Whiteb 68.3 (67.3–69.4)
Blackb 71.2 (69.9–72.5)
Hispanic 67.0 (65.5–68.5)
American Indian/Alaska Nativeb 60.3 (52.4–67.6)
Asianb 75.7 (72.7–78.5)
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanderb 68.3 (62.1–73.9)
Multiracialb 72.0 (69.2–74.7)

aWeighted percentages.
bNon-Hispanic.

 

References

  1. Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, et al.; Consensus Conference Panel. Joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society on the recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: methodology and discussion. Sleep. 2015;38:1161–1183.
  2. Zhang X, Holt JB, Lu H, et al. Multilevel regression and poststratification for small area estimation of population health outcomes: a case study of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease prevalence using BRFSS. Am J Epidemiol. 2014;179(8):1025-1033.
  3. Paruthi S, Brooks LJ, D’Ambrosio C, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for pediatric populations: a consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. J Clin Sleep Med. 2016;12(6):785–786.
  4. Wheaton AG, Olsen EO, Miller GF, Croft JB. Sleep duration and injury-related risk behaviors among high school students — United States, 2007–2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:337–341. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6513a1.htm