A number of factors have an effect on the quality of our sleep. From our mental state and personal health to environmental factors such as noise and air pollution. So which are the best and worst cities for sleep in the US? Every person is different in this regard, what might have a negative effect on one, could the other’s perfect sleep environment. If you suffer from allergies, you might be better off living in a city with clean air and fewer plants. At the same time, some lucky enough to be allergy-free, will not be bothered by a dustier place.
We examined a number of factors and ranked the top 150 best cities for sleep. Did your city make the cut? Keep reading to find out.
Here are the 5 best and worst cities for sleep in the United States based on our research and professional opinion:
|BEST CITIES FOR SLEEP||WORST CITIES FOR SLEEP|
|Colorado Springs, CO||Detroit, MI|
|Sioux Falls, SD||Newark, NJ|
|Boise, ID||Cleveland, OH|
|Lincoln, NE||Birmingham, AL|
|Madison, WI||Philadelphia, PA|
Keep reading to find out about the methodology of our research. We also explain how we chose the top 5 cities on our list. At the end of the article, you’ll find a list of the 150 best and worst cities for sleep in the US.
Our methodology to find the best and worst cities for sleep in the US
To establish the best and worst cities for sleep in the USA, we ranked them for a variety of factors. These factors are:
- Rates of Sleep Deprivation
- Obesity rates
- Unemployment rates
- Average commute time
- Air quality
- Light pollution levels
- Ongoing and/or heavy construction
Below, we go into detail about the effect of these factors. We also explain where we get our data from so you can check the information yourself.
Sleep deprivation is one of the most prevalent sleep problems in the US. An average, healthy adult needs between 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Because of health problems, stress at home and at work, and busier schedules, most Americans don’t stick to those times. This is only made worse by emotional factors like anxiety and depression. That makes it easy to understand why so many people don’t get the sleep they need. To make matters worse, sleep deprivation has additional negative effects on your health. These range from a reduction in cognitive ability to irritability and weight gain. The CDC found that more than a third of Americans (35.3 percent) don’t get enough sleep. Interestingly, Hawaii had the lowest levels of proper sleep at only 56 percent. People in South Dakota got the most sleep at 72 percent. In general, people in the people in Appalachia and the southeastern US reported having the lowest amounts of proper sleep. This is likely tied to the higher rates of obesity and bad health in those regions.
The map listed below shows the self-reported percentage of adults that get less than 7 hours of sleep.
To create our ranking, we took the 2014 CDC numbers about adults sleeping less than 7 hours a night. The data is age-adjusted and separated by cities in America.
There is a strong connection between obesity and medical problems and sleep problems. These include heart disease, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and snoring. If you want to achieve a good night’s sleep, being in excellent physical health will have a great positive effect. Getting enough exercise and keeping a healthy diet free of too much fat or sugar will also promote good sleep.
According to the CDC data, over 33 percent of American adults are obese. The CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System examines the diet, exercise, and obesity level of adults. The map below shows the percentage of obese adults in each state. A darker shade symbolizes higher rates of obesity.
To create our ranking, we took the 2016 CDC numbers about the occurrence of adults with obesity by state.
Much like physical health and wellness, being mentally healthy also has a major impact on your ability to sleep well. Depression and anxiety are tightly linked to sleep disorders and insomnia. While workaholics tend to deal with sleep problems, the stress connected to being unemployed also negatively affect sleep. Knowing that your job is safe can greatly reduce the stress that contributes to sleep disorders.
For the purpose of our study, we used the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ state joblessness numbers for March 2018.
The typical American spends 52.6 minutes commuting to and from work. That’s 26.3 minutes in each direction.
What does your commute time have to do with your quality of sleep? Employees with shorter commute times tend to be more efficient workers and have greater job satisfaction. Job satisfaction has a huge impact on your happiness, and happier people have an easier time falling asleep at night. Today’s workers are aware of the influence their commute time has on their happiness. That’s why a short commute is often listed as one of the most important factors in choosing a place to live.
Shorter commute times are also connected with decreased health risks such as diabetes or depression and can help improve your sleep.
For our dataset, we relied on data from the US Census, which tracked commute times between 2012 and 2016. Around 1,000 of the country’s biggest cities are included in this data. Unsurprisingly, people living in larger cities also have longer commute times.
Low air quality is directly tied to greater rates of bronchial asthma, heart problems, and lung cancer. Asthma, in turn, is connected to a higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea, which can also cause cardiac arrest.
Polluted air also makes it more difficult to enjoy outside activities. This, in turn, lowers overall physical fitness levels and can lead to other health problems that negatively impact your sleep quality.
To examine air quality, we used data from the American Lung Association. It compiles an annual State of the Air Report, which lists the 25 cleanest and most polluted cities. The report is based on ozone levels, short-term particle, and year-round particle pollution.
Light contamination disrupts your body’s inner clock. This confuses your brain regarding when it’s time to start the production of melatonin to induce sleep. This is why using electronic devices can make it harder to go to sleep and will also affect your sleeping habits. The blue wavelengths in the screens of your devices trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This will cause you to stay awake longer than you should and cause difficulties to stay asleep.
The latest edition of the artificial night sky atlas shows that almost 100 percent of Americans live under light-polluted skies. Our night skies are so polluted by light that only 20 percent of Americans can see the Milky Way at night.
Cities in the eastern half of the nation are worse off, especially in the area between Washington D.C. and Boston. Except for San Francisco and Los Angeles, people living on the West Coast can enjoy darker nighttime skies.
Because of the problems connected to light pollution more cities are designating themselves as Dark Sky Communities. These cities implement high-quality exterior lights and also inform locals about the benefits of dark skies.
- Beverly Shores, Indiana
- Big Park / Village of Oak Creek, Arizona
- Borrego Springs, California
- Camp Verde, Arizona
- Dripping Springs, Texas
- Flagstaff, Arizona
- Fountain Hills, Arizona
- Homer Glen, Illinois
- Horseshoe Bay, Texas
- Ketchum, Idaho
- Sedona, Arizona
- Thunder Mountain Pootseev Nightsky
- Torrey, Utah
- Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, Colorado
- Wimberley Valley, Texas
Most of the cities on our list are too urban to be free of light pollution. We added a marker for cities that are close to a dark sky city.
Many of America’s cities are in a constant state of development. While this is great news for the economy, it’s actually horrible for your sleep quality. Constant construction noise disrupts our ability to get a good night’s sleep. The sound from building disrupts one’s capability to obtain peaceful rest.
During the day, constant construction causes traffic jams that in turn result in longer commutes and increased stress. Stress and anxiety are two risk factors for insomnia. This sleep disorder makes it difficult to fall asleep at night and/or stay asleep.
How does your city rank for sleep
|City||Sleep deprivation rate||Obesity Rate||State unemployment rate||Commute time||Air quality||Near dark city||Heavy construction|
|Overland Park, KS||26.4||31.20%||3.40%||#N/A||No|
|Sioux Falls, SD||27.4||29.60%||3.40%||18.5||No|
|Denver, CO||28.1||22.30%||3.00%||27.3||Most Polluted City||No||Yes|
|Austin, TX||29||33.70%||4.00%||26.4||Cleanest City||Yes||Yes|
|Seattle, WA||29.9||28.60%||4.80%||29.3||Most Polluted City||No||Yes|
|Colorado Springs, CO||30||22.30%||3.00%||22.7||Cleanest City||Yes|
|Huntington Beach, CA||30.4||25.00%||4.30%||#N/A||No|
|Lincoln, NE||30.7||32.00%||2.80%||18.7||Cleanest City||No|
|Scottsdale, AZ||30.8||29.00%||4.90%||26||Most Polluted City||No|
|Santa Rosa, CA||31||25.00%||4.30%||25||No|
|St. Paul, MN||31.2||27.80%||3.20%||25.2||No|
|Des Moines, IA||31.3||32.00%||2.80%||20.1||Cleanest City||No|
|Salt Lake City, UT||32||25.40%||3.10%||22.5||Most Polluted City||No|
|Fresno, CA||32.9||25.00%||4.30%||22.3||Most Polluted City||No|
|Aurora, CO||33.2||22.30%||3.00%||27.3||Most Polluted City||No|
|Laredo, TX||33.3||33.70%||4.00%||21.7||Cleanest City||No|
|Anchorage, AK||33.4||31.40%||7.30%||22.1||Most Polluted City||No|
|San Francisco, CA||33.6||25.00%||4.30%||32.1||Most Polluted City||No||Yes|
|El Paso, TX||34||33.70%||4.00%||23.3||No|
|Charlotte, NC||34||31.80%||4.50%||26.3||Cleanest City||No|
|Cape Coral, FL||34||27.40%||3.90%||27.3||Cleanest City||No|
|Santa Clarita, CA||34.4||25.00%||4.30%||#N/A||No|
|Springfield, MO||34.6||31.70%||3.60%||21.8||Cleanest City||No|
|San Diego, CA||34.6||25.00%||4.30%||25.3||Most Polluted City||Yes|
|Sacramento, CA||34.6||25.00%||4.30%||26.4||Most Polluted City||No|
|San Jose, CA||34.6||25.00%||4.30%||27.3||Most Polluted City||No||Yes|
|Grand Prairie, TX||34.6||33.70%||4.00%||#N/A||No|
|Mesa, AZ||34.7||29.00%||4.90%||26||Most Polluted City||No|
|Rancho Cucamonga, CA||34.7||25.00%||4.30%||#N/A||No|
|Bakersfield, CA||34.8||25.00%||4.30%||23.5||Most Polluted City||No|
|Dallas, TX||34.9||33.70%||4.00%||27.9||Cleanest & Most Polluted||No|
|Brownsville, TX||35.1||33.70%||4.00%||20.1||Cleanest City||No|
|Washington, DC||35.2||22.60%||5.60%||34.4||Most Polluted City||No||Yes|
|Corpus Christi, TX||35.4||33.70%||4.00%||20.4||Cleanest City||No|
|Modesto, CA||35.5||25.00%||4.30%||27.5||Most Polluted City||No|
|Kansas City, MO||35.6||31.70%||3.60%||22.9||No|
|Phoenix, AZ||35.6||29.00%||4.90%||26||Most Polluted City||No||Yes|
|Garden Grove, CA||35.6||25.00%||4.30%||#N/A||No|
|Santa Ana, CA||35.7||25.00%||4.30%||27.2||No|
|Chula Vista, CA||35.7||25.00%||4.30%||#N/A||No|
|Grand Rapids, MI||35.8||32.50%||4.70%||21.7||No|
|Oklahoma City, OK||35.9||32.80%||4.00%||22.4||Cleanest City||No|
|Orlando, FL||36||27.40%||3.90%||27.8||Cleanest City||No|
|Houston, TX||36||33.70%||4.00%||29.5||Most Polluted City||No|
|Oakland, CA||36||25.00%||4.30%||32.1||Most Polluted City||No|
|Virginia Beach, VA||36.1||29.00%||3.40%||24.2||Cleanest City||No|
|Fort Worth, TX||36.1||33.70%||4.00%||27.6||Cleanest & Most Polluted||No|
|Henderson, NV||36.2||25.80%||4.90%||24.4||Most Polluted City||No|
|Fort Wayne, IN||36.3||32.50%||3.20%||21.2||No|
|Little Rock, AR||36.5||35.70%||3.80%||22.8||Cleanest City||No|
|Pembroke Pines, FL||36.5||27.40%||3.90%||#N/A||No|
|Tallahassee, FL||36.6||27.40%||3.90%||22.6||Cleanest City||No|
|Baton Rouge, LA||36.6||35.50%||4.40%||26.6||No|
|San Antonio, TX||36.8||33.70%||4.00%||25.7||Cleanest City||No|
|Port St. Lucie, FL||37.1||27.40%||3.90%||27.1||No|
|Lexington-Fayette, KY||37.4||34.20%||4.00%||21.3||Cleanest City||No|
|Chicago, IL||37.4||31.60%||4.60%||31.3||Most Polluted City||Yes||Yes|
|Los Angeles, CA||37.5||25.00%||4.30%||30.4||Most Polluted City||No||Yes|
|Tacoma, WA||37.7||28.60%||4.80%||29.6||Most Polluted City||No|
|Louisville, KY||37.8||34.20%||4.00%||23.7||Most Polluted City||No|
|Tampa, FL||37.9||27.40%||3.90%||26.7||Cleanest City||No|
|Long Beach, CA||37.9||25.00%||4.30%||30.4||Most Polluted City||No|
|St. Petersburg, FL||38.3||27.40%||3.90%||26.7||Cleanest City||No|
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||38.3||27.40%||3.90%||28.5||No|
|New Orleans, LA||38.5||35.50%||4.40%||25.7||Cleanest City||No|
|Las Vegas, NV||38.9||25.80%||4.90%||24.4||Most Polluted City||No|
|Cincinnati, OH||38.9||31.50%||4.40%||24.6||Most Polluted City||No|
|Knoxville, TN||39||34.80%||3.40%||23.4||Most Polluted City||No|
|St. Louis, MO||39||31.70%||3.60%||25.5||No|
|Indianapolis, IN||39.2||32.50%||3.20%||24.8||Most Polluted City||No|
|Fayetteville, NC||39.9||31.80%||4.50%||21.4||Cleanest City||No|
|Norfolk, VA||39.9||29.00%||3.40%||24.2||Cleanest City||No|
|San Bernardino, CA||39.9||25.00%||4.30%||31.8||No|
|Richmond, VA||40||29.00%||3.40%||25||Cleanest City||No|
|Moreno Valley, CA||40.1||25.00%||4.30%||#N/A||No|
|Columbus, OH||40.2||31.50%||4.40%||23.5||Cleanest City||No|
|Atlanta, GA||40.4||31.40%||4.40%||31||Most Polluted City||No|
|Pittsburgh, PA||40.5||30.30%||4.80%||26.5||Most Polluted City||No|
|Shreveport, LA||40.7||35.50%||4.40%||21.8||Cleanest City||No|
|North Las Vegas, NV||41||25.80%||4.90%||24.4||Most Polluted City||No|
|New York, NY||41||25.50%||4.60%||35.9||Most Polluted City||No||Yes|
|Montgomery, AL||41.3||35.70%||3.80%||22.9||Cleanest City||No|
|Newport News, VA||41.7||29.00%||3.40%||24.2||No|
|Mobile, AL||42.2||35.70%||3.80%||24.7||Cleanest City||No|
|Rochester, NY||42.4||25.50%||4.60%||21.2||Cleanest City||No|
|Buffalo, NY||43.6||25.50%||4.60%||21.3||Cleanest City||No|
|Jackson, MS||43.6||37.30%||4.50%||24.2||Cleanest City||No|
|Jersey City, NJ||43.7||27.40%||4.60%||35.9||No|
|Akron, OH||44.1||31.50%||4.40%||23.4||Most Polluted City||No|
|Philadelphia, PA||44.3||30%||4.80%||29.2||Most Polluted City||No||Yes|
|Baltimore, MD||44.4||29.90%||4.30%||30.5||Most Polluted City||No|
|Cleveland, OH||45.4||31.50%||4.40%||24.6||Most Polluted City||No|
|Birmingham, AL||46.9||35.70%||3.80%||26.1||Cleanest & Most Polluted||No|
|Newark, NJ||48||27.40%||4.60%||35.9||Most Polluted City||No|
|Honolulu, HI||48||23.80%||2.10%||38.7||Cleanest City||No||Yes|
|Detroit, MI||50.8||32.50%||4.70%||26.7||Most Polluted City||No||Yes|