Sleep is absolutely essential for overall health and happiness, but many Americans (and people worldwide) struggle to get enough. Around 50 to 70 million Americans experience sleep deprivation, with 35.2% of all U.S. adults reporting an average of less than seven hours each night. As with most health metrics, sleep difficulties vary by race, age, occupation, and location. This infographic explores the most sleep-deprived counties and states in America. While many of them are counties with small populations, there are a few major cities that make the list. These include Detroit and Philadelphia, where 45% of adults reported sleeping an average of less than seven hours each night. Overall, Southern states are the most greatly impacted, including Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia,
Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Insufficient sleep can have serious short-term and long-term consequences. Sleep deficiency is linked to health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression. Memory also suffers as the brain needs sleep to build connections that enable us to process and remember information. Concentration, problem-solving, creativity, and emotional regulation can also be severely impacted. Your immune system suffers too; studies show that people who do not get enough quality sleep are more susceptible to get sick after exposure to a virus such as the common cold. Overall, sleep deprivation is dangerous and increases risk of injury and death for all ages. Several infamous workplace accidents have been directly or indirectly linked to excessive sleepiness, including the Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion, the Chernobyl meltdown, the Exxon Valdez Spill, and the American Airlines Flight 1420 crash. Each year, nearly 100,000 traffic crashes are attributed to drowsy driving, causing over 1,500 deaths and 70,000 injuries. All in all, sufficient sleep is important for the well-being of both the individual and the community as a whole.