On February 19, 2016 the CDC issued a report stating that more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. This is the first study to document estimates of self-reported healthy sleep duration (seven or more hours per day) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18 to 60 years sleep at least seven hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress. Insufficient sleep 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
“As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Wayne Giles, M.D., director of the CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.”
CDC researchers reviewed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a state-based, random-digit–dialed telephone survey conducted collaboratively by state health departments and the CDC.
Healthy sleep duration was lower among Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (54 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (54 percent), multiracial non-Hispanics (54 percent) and American Indians/Alaska Natives (60 percent) compared with non-Hispanic whites (67 percent), Hispanics (66 percent), and Asians (63 percent).
The prevalence of healthy sleep duration varied among states and ranged from 56 percent in Hawaii to 72 percent in South Dakota. A lower proportion of adults reported getting at least seven hours of sleep per day in states clustered in the southeastern region of the United States and the Appalachian Mountains. Previous studies have shown that these regions also have the highest prevalence of obesity and other chronic conditions.
People who reported they were unable to work or were unemployed had lower healthy sleep duration (51 percent and 60 percent, respectively) than did employed respondents (65 percent). The prevalence of healthy sleep duration was highest among people with a college degree or higher (72 percent). The percentage reporting a healthy sleep duration was higher among people who were married (67 percent) compared with those who were never married (62 percent) or divorced, widowed, or separated (56 percent).
Healthy sleep duration in adults can be promoted by sleep health education and behavior changes, such as setting a pattern of going to bed at the same time each night and rising at the same time each morning; making sure that the bedroom environment is quiet, dark, relaxing, and neither too hot nor too cold; turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices, and distracting or light-emitting electronic devices from the bedroom; and avoiding large meals, nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine before bedtime. Healthcare providers should routinely assess patients’ sleep patterns and discuss sleep-related problems such as snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. Employers can consider adjusting work schedules to allow their workers time to get enough sleep and educate their shift workers about how to improve their sleep.
See the CDC Announcement
See the CDC Report
See also Medical Law Perspectives March 2016 Report: Slumbering Concerns: Sleep Disorder Treatment Risks and Liabilities (to be published March 1, 2016).