Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have drawn a U.S. map of sleep – and sleeplessness.
A research team at the Perelman School of Medicine gathered up data about sleep problems all over the country, and mapped it out state-by-state.
The good news for Philadelphia is that there seems to be a connection between a good night’s slep and an otherwise healthy lifestyle.
The bad news is we’re not actually on this map. Pennsylvania is among 14 other states that didn’t include questions about sleep in the 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) that provided the data.
That health survey is conducted by individual state health departments. And for some reason, the Pennsylvania Department of Health didn’t care how well rested we were.
Why is that, anyway?
Still, the map shows some interesting things. For some reason, people in California sleep really well. On the other hand, a tight cluster of Southern states have been waking up all night, and dragging themselves through the day.
The top map, which measures sleep disturbances, shows a solid patch of red covering Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The bottom map, illustrating daytime fatigue, shows high rates in about the same area – swapping in Missouri for Louisiana.
A lot of things contribute to that, according to Dr. Michael A. Grandner, research associate at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at Penn and lead author of the study. It could be patterns of mental health, race/ethnicity, access to healthcare, weather and so forth.
The most significant factors seem to be overall mental and physical health. For instance, all the red states in both maps have among the top 11 highest percentage of obese people, also according to results from the BRFSS.
Refreshed and restful California, on the other hand, is way down at the bottom of that list – only the 40th most obese state.
That’s good for Pennsylvania, which has only the 19th highest percentage of obesity. And Philadelphia, once America’s fattest city, no longer even waddles into the top 10.
But even after calculating for all that, researchers still found more patterns, which are kind of a mystery.
“What else could explain it?” he asked. “Maybe differences in culture, differences in attitudes about health or attitudes about sleep.”