Feb 7, 2024 - News

A majority of Utahns don't get enough sleep

😴 Share of adults getting fewer than seven hours of sleep per night, on average
Data: Apple Heart and Movement Study; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Most Utahns aren't getting enough sleep. Nearly 70% of residents are obtaining less than the recommended seven hours of slumber each night.

Why it matters: Experts say sleeping hitting that mark or more is crucial for your health, but efforts to get more zzz's can be focused on the wrong things, Axios' Carly Mallenbaum reports.

By the numbers: Americans get less than six-and-a-half hours a night on average, according to a study that tracked the sleep of Apple Watch users from February to June 2022.

  • Although data of Apple users might not reflect the general population, the "fact that we don't get enough sleep [is] clear across the board," says Karin Johnson, a sleep medicine specialist and professor of neurology.

Zoom out: In places where it stays lighter later, people tend to stay up and out later.

  • Cities on the western edges of their time zones — like Chattanooga, Tennessee; Tallahassee, Florida; and much of Indiana and Michigan — are among those with the latest sunrises and sunsets, and people there generally sleep less, Johnson says.

Threat level: Johnson says getting fewer than the recommended seven hours a night could increase your risk for having a stroke.

What they're saying: "Sleep is foundational to health…. It doesn't matter if you work out all the time [and eat well]. If you don't sleep, you're not going to get the gains you want. You're not going to feel well," says Seema Khosla, the medical director of the North Dakota Center for Sleep.

Some basic sleep hygiene tips include keeping your room cool, reducing light exposure before bed and not looking at the time when you wake up in the middle of the night, Johnson says.

Be smart: Changing only one thing about your bedtime habits often doesn't fix a sleep problem.

  • Johnson says you can think of it like a scale with a bunch of habits that keep you awake on one side and strategies that promote sleep on the other. The heavier side wins.
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