Sleepless in the South: Penn Medicine Study Discovers State and Regional Prevalence of Sleep Issues

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Media Contact:Jessica Mikulski | jessica.mikulski@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-8369February 23, 2012

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have put sleeplessness on the map — literally. The research team, analyzing nationwide data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has produced the first state-by-state sleep maps for the United States, revealing that residents of Southern states suffer from the most sleep disturbances and daytime fatigue, while residents on the West Coast report the least amount of problems. The results are published online in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

"Sleep disturbance is a major public health concern. However, geographic dispersion of sleep problems, and the factors that may play a role in why some states or regions get better sleep, have been largely unexplored," said Michael A. Grandner, PhD, research associate at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at Penn and lead author of the study. "Our study generated the first sleep maps for the U.S. that include data on sleep disturbance and daytime fatigue across most of the country."

The findings suggest that, in general, those in the South are most likely to report sleep disturbance and daytime fatigue, and those in the West are least likely. Of the states where data was collected, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and West Virginia ranked in the highest bracket for each category. The researchers note that this finding is consistent with other geographic studies, showing that many of the states that report worse sleep and fatigue problems are the same states that tend to report higher prevalence of other conditions, such as obesity, and that the pattern differed slightly between men and women.

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