Nearly 20% of West Virginians report that they never got enough sleep during the past month, making West Virginia America’s least-rested state, according to an analysis of a large-scale study on sleep deprivation conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Tennessee (14.8%) and Kentucky (14.4%) ranked #2 and #3 on the list.
At the other end of the spectrum, Washington, DC (8.5%), California (8.0%) and North Dakota (7.4%) had the lowest percentages of people who never got enough sleep, making them among the most-rested states.
The 2008 study investigated the prevalence of insufficient rest or sleep in all 50 states, the District of Columbia (DC), and three US territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands). It includes breakouts by age, gender, ethnicity, education, marital status, and employment – among other factors.
Overall, it found that 29% of respondents report sleeping less than seven hours per night, on average, and that an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from a disorder of sleep and wakefulness, which hinders their daily functioning and adversely affects their health and longevity.
Specifics about those who frequently report insufficient rest or sleep:
- The percentage of adults reporting insufficient rest or sleep every day during the preceding 30 days generally declines with age. It is highest among persons ages 25-34 (13.8%) and lowest among persons those ages 65 or younger (7.4%). Non-Hispanic Blacks (13.3%) are significantly more likely than non-Hispanic Whites (11.2%) to report 30 days of insufficient rest or sleep.
- Women are more likely to report 30 days of insufficient rest or sleep than men (12.4% vs. 9.9%).
- Those who report being unable to work (25.8%) and unemployed respondents (13.9%) are significantly more likely to report 30 days of insufficient rest or sleep than respondents who are employed (9.9%), retired (9.5%), or a student or homemaker (11.1%).
- In comparison with people with some college education or a college degree (9.6%), insufficient rest or sleep is significantly more likely to be reported by persons with less than a high school education (14.3%) and among those with a high school diploma or GED (13.2%).
- Compared with married respondents (11.1%), those who are divorced, widowed, or separated are more likely to report insufficient sleep (16.0%). Percentages for never married persons (10.6%) and members of an unmarried couple (12.1%) are similar to those for married adults (11.1%).
Specifics about those who are more rested:
- Among the 403,981 adult respondents in the study, an estimated 30.7% reported no days of insufficient rest or sleep in the preceding 30 days, 41.3% reported 1-13 days, 16.8% reported 14-29 days, and 11.1% reported 30 days.
- The prevalence of adults reporting no days of insufficient rest or sleep increases with age; people ages ?45 years are more likely to report no days than adults aged <45 years.
- Hispanic (38.8%) and other non-Hispanic racial/ethnic groups (35.4%) are more likely to report no days of insufficient rest compared with non-Hispanic Whites (27.9%) and non-Hispanic Blacks (30.4%).
- Men (33.6%) are more likely to report no days than women (28.1%).
- Retired persons (43.8%) are most likely to report no days of insufficient rest or sleep in comparison with adults reporting other employment status.
- Those with less than a high school diploma or GED (37.9%) are more likely to report no days of insufficient rest or sleep vs. those with a high school diploma or GED (33.8%) or with some college or college degree (28.0%).
- Reports of no days of insufficient rest or sleep were similar among adults of varying marital status, although never-married adults (31.6%) are more likely to report no days than members of an unmarried couple (28.4%).
Though the CDC did not offer any explanation for what it sees as an alarming prevalence of sleeplessness in some states, industry expert Dr. David White, chief medical officer of Philips Respironics, believes that – in addition to other social and situational factors – chronic sleep insufficiency is often caused by sleep apnea – which inhibits breathing during sleep.
White added that better education programs about sleep, sleep disorders and the consequences of sleep deprivation may ultimately go a long way toward preventing a host of physical and mental health problems, and may also increase longevity among Americans.
About the study: The survey was undertaken as an analysis of part of the CDC’s large-scale “Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System” (BRFSS), in which nearly 404,000 people in the US were asked how many days during the past 30 they felt they didn’t get enough sleep. BRFSS is a state-based, RDD telephone survey of the US civilian population ages 18+, which is conducted by state health departments in collaboration with CDC. In 2008, response rates among all 50 states, DC, and territories ranged from 35.8% to 65.9%. Cooperation rates ranged from 59.3% to 87.8%.