Here's How Many Americans Actually Sleep 7 Hours

A young woman sleeping.
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More than a third of U.S. adults aren't getting enough shut-eye, according to a new report.

In the report, based on a survey of more than 440,000 Americans, about 35 percent said they usually got less than 7 hours of sleep a night. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the study, recommends that adults ages 18 to 60 get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

Too little sleep increases the risk for a number of health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and frequent mental distress, the CDC said.

The new findings suggest "an ongoing need for public awareness and public education about sleep health," the report said.

The percentage of people getting at least 7 hours of sleep varied by state, ranging from a low of 56 percent in Hawaii to a high of 72 percent in South Dakota. [How Much Sleep Do US Adults Get? List of States]

States in the Great Plains — including Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho and Montana — generally had a greater percentage of people getting a healthy amount of sleep, compared with the national average.

In contrast, states in the Southeast and along the Appalachian Mountains, including New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, had a lower percentage of people getting a healthy amount of sleep, the report said.

A greater percentage of people with college degrees (72 percent) said they got a healthy amount of sleep at night, compared with people with a high school diploma (62 percent).

In addition, a greater percentage of people who were employed (65 percent) said they got a healthy amount of sleep at night, compared with people who were unemployed (60 percent).

According to the CDC, tips for getting a better night's sleep include:

  • Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.
  • Removing electronic devices, such as televisions, computers or cellphones, from the bedroom.
  • Avoiding large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.
  • Making sure the sleep environment is quiet, dark and not too hot or too cold.

Doctors should also ask their patients about their sleep, and educate them about the importance of healthy sleep. Employers could also consider adjusting work schedules so that their employees have the opportunity to get enough sleep, the CDC said.

Follow Rachael Rettner @RachaelRettner. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.