A Drowsy Nation

50 to 70 million adults in the United States are not getting the sleep they need to keep them happy and healthy. Lack of sleep costs the U.S. around $15.9 billion per year.

Map of the US showing percentage of people who slept less than 7 hours a night

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A new report from the United Health Foundation shows that 50 to 70 million adults in the United States are not getting enough sleep. The Healthy People 2020 goal is to increase the percentage of adults who receive adequate sleep to 70.8% by 2020 (up from 69.6% in 2008). So far, Americans are heading in the wrong direction. As of 2015, 66.5% of adults were getting the sleep required to keep them happy and healthy.

According to the report, getting the recommended amount of sleep is associated with better physical and mental health. Individuals earning more than $75,000 had better sleep patterns than those earning less than $25,000. Adults older than 65 also tend to sleep better than those under 65. As the map above shows, people living in the Midwest and West slept more than those living in the East.

For college students, graduation does not guarantee more sleep. Less than 30% of college grads get adequate sleep, compared with 37.1% of those with a high school diploma alone.

Sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, and sleepiness cost the United States around $15.9 billion per year due to accidents, lost productivity, and health problems ranging from obesity and diabetes to cancer and depression.

Databyte via America’s Health Rankings: Annual Report 2017. United Health Foundation.