Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Idaho is the state that gets the most sleep

I saw a May 3rd article in the Idaho Statesman titled Idaho is the best-rested state in the nation according to sleep survey which said that:

“In Idaho, if you snooze, you win. The state was ranked number one in the nation for best-rested, according to a recent survey by Sleep Number.

Idaho residents sleep about 7.12 hours a night, and though that's lower than the recommended 8, it still comes out far ahead of the nation's average of 6.7 hours a night, according to the survey.

Idaho was just above New Hampshire and Vermont for best sleep. Neighboring states Oregon and Montana also made it into the top-five for super-snoozers. The state with the least sleep was Georgia where residents only got 6.09 hours of sleep a night, according to the survey.”

The May 1st Business Wire press release about that survey is here. Inflatable mattress maker Sleep Number did some extremely clever marketing by doing both a national survey of about a thousand people and a set of of surveys of about a hundred people in each state (and the District of Columbia). Their press kit included a Infographic and Fact Sheet Gallery covering every state, so it was very easy for newspapers and radio stations to find relevant numbers and mention the Sleep Number name. Except for a hyphen between best and rested, the title of the Idaho Statesman article is identical to that for the Infographic on Idaho.

How do the states compare? The bar chart shown above lists the 25 states (and D.C.) with the most sleep. (Click on it to see a larger, clearer version). Idaho was first with 7.12, Vermont 2nd with 7.06, Montana 3rd with 6.95, Oregon 4th with 6.94, and Kansas 5th with 6.9. Another chart, shown below lists the other 25 states with the least sleep. 

But, we weren’t really the best rested state. The survey also listed the average number of hours for restful sleep. The bar chart shown above lists the 25 states (and D.C.) with the most hours of restful sleep. Delaware was first with 6.47 hours, followed by Utah with 6.45 and Idaho with 6.36. Then came Texas with 6.33 and New Mexico with 6.16. Another chart, shown below lists the other 25 states with the least hours of restful sleep.  

Each infographic for a state opens with a statement that:

“Americans average 6.7 hours of sleep a night, much lower than the recommended eight.”

But, the current recommendation from the National Sleep Foundation actually is a range from seven to nine hours, and that 6.7 hours is just 0.3 hours (a mere 18 minutes) lower than recommended. The National Sleep Foundation has also done a series of annual Sleep in America surveys. Page 18 of their 2015 one about Sleep and Pain said of adult Americans:

“They reported sleeping 6.9 hours on work days and 7.6 hours on free days resulting in an average of 7.1 hours across the week.”

Also, page 7 of their 2005 survey on Adult Sleep Habits and Styles reported similar averages of 6.8 hours per night on weekdays, 7.4 hours on weekends, and 6.9 hours overall.

I looked elsewhere and found a May 11th post by Jeff Davidson on his Interruption Management blog which mistakenly claimed that in 2012 Travelodge had done a study about different professions. But, his web address for it contains a 2007 date, which is confirmed by the original May 1, 2007 press release from the UK. Curiously Jeff’s June 7, 2007 post on another blog got the date right.

The image was adapted from a painting by John Everett Millais at Wikimedia Commons.

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