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Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Sleep

Written by Jackson Lindeke

One in four Americans experiences sleep problems each year, which got us wondering if some cities were more conducive than others to a good night’s rest. When we set out to determine the best and worst cities for sleep, we wanted to look at all of the major reasons that people experience sleep disruptions, because often the relationship between sleep and other factors like our environment, our mental and physical health, and our personal habits is complex and closely connected.

To compile our ranking, we started with the CDC’s list of 500 cities and compared them to determine sleep success in three key areas: sleep quality, sleep quantity, and sleep timing. To measure sleep quality, we looked at environmental and health factors that frequently contribute to poor sleep, and used a survey to assess how poor sleep hygiene and bedtime habits impact sleep quality.

To gauge sleep quantity, we used the CDC’s short sleep duration report to compare how many hours of sleep people get in different cities. Finally, when considering sleep timing, we looked at factors that frequently contribute to sleeplessness due to mental and emotional stress, like unemployment rate, the number of mentally unhealthy days people experience each month, and access to help. Read a full description of our methodology and sources below.

The 10 Best Cities for Sleep

The cities that scored the highest for sleep tended to have the lowest rates of sleep deprivation in the nation and at least one top score in our other four categories. They are smaller in terms of population, which could be why they are less crowded, quieter, and less affected by light and noise pollution than other cities on our list.

Here are the 10 Best Cities for Sleep:

#1 – Madison, WI

Total score: 85.78

Why was it selected?

Madison enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 3.3%, a low divorce rate of 2.4%, and good access to mental health help. Wisconsin employs more therapists and counselors than the national average.

#2 – Overland Park, KS

Total score: 85.14

Why was it selected?

This Kansas City suburb slept longer than any other city we looked at, with just almost 75% of residents reporting over 7 hours of sleep a night.

#3 – Rochester, MN

Total score: 84.34

Why was it selected?

Rochester ranked 1st for well being and enjoys one of the lowest commute times in the country at just 19 minutes. The city’s residents also experience more mentally healthy days, with just 9% reporting 14 or more days of poor mental health in a 30 day period.

#4 – Fort Collins, CO

Total score: 82.68

Why was it selected?

In 2016, Fort Collins launched a Dark Sky initiative to reduce glare caused by artificial outdoor lights, which means residents in this town can sleep easier.

#5 – Carlsbad, CA

Total score: 81.69

Why was it selected?

This San Diego suburb not only enjoys year-round sunshine but is among the healthiest in the country. All but 6% of residents have health insurance, and the town has one of the lowest rates of obesity at 18.5%.

#6 – Olathe, KS

Total score: 81.13

Why was it selected?

Olathe residents sleep better than most cities, with over 72% of residents sleeping 7 or more hours a night. Perhaps it’s the low unemployment rate or low commute time of under 23 minutes that helps them sleep more soundly.

#7 – Ann Arbor, MI

Total score: 80.85

Why was it selected?

The city of Ann Arbor has over 160 parks and is committed to planting 1,000 trees each year. That must by residents stay so active with 84% of residents exercising on a regular basis.

#8 – Sioux Falls, SD

Total score: 80.08

Why was it selected?

South Dakota had one of the highest sleep hygiene scores in the country. Perhaps that’s why just 27% of Sioux Falls residents get less than 7 hours of sleep a night.

#9 – Lincoln, NE

Total score: 79.43

Why was it selected?

It takes the average resident of Lincoln less than 19 minutes to commute to work each day, and as a whole, the city is among the least stressed in the country.

#10 – Boise, ID

Total score: 78.45

Why was it selected?

Boise is known for its outdoor spaces and low crime rate, which makes it an attractive place to raise a family. For a city of over 200,000 people, it’s not densely populated, with just over 2,500 residents/square mile.

Don’t see your city? check out our full list below.

The 10 Worst Cities for Sleep

Cities on this list ranked lower for a range of reasons, but many had among the highest rates of sleep deprivation and a low score in at least one other categories. Many had higher rates of obesity, higher unemployment rates, or had more noise or light pollution than their counterparts.

Here are the Top 10 Worst Cities for Sleep:

#1 – Birmingham, AL

Total score: 16.40

Why was it selected?

Birmingham’s high obesity rate and lack of exercise–over a third of residents reported little to no exercise on a regular basis–may be why over 41% of residents are getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night.

#2 – Newark, NJ

Total score: 16.94

Why was it selected?

Newark scored among the lowest for both physical and mental health, with an unemployment rate of 4.6% and an average commute time of 32.7 minutes. It’s also among the most densely populated city in the country, with 11,500 residents per square mile and it shows: 49% of residents gets less than 7 hours of sleep a night.

#3 – Baltimore, MD

Total score: 18.94

Why was it selected?

Over 43% of residents in Baltimore sleep less than 7 hours a night: that may be due to a high crime rate and an unemployment rate of over 4%.

#4 – Jackson, MS

Total score: 20.02

Why was it selected?

Over 43% of Jackson residents are considered obese, and more than a third of the city’s residents get little to no exercise. And with more than 21% of the population lacking health insurance, it’s no wonder Jackson residents topped the Worst Cities for Sleep list.

#5 – Detroit, MI

Total score: 20.32

Why was it selected?

Detroit residents reported a staggering 18 mentally unhealthy days a month, and with a sleep deprivation rate of 49.8%, it’s no wonder that Detroit is feeling blue.

#6 – Cleveland, OH

Total score: 20.38

Why was it selected?

With over 8% of residents suffering from cardiovascular disease, and 16.5% of residents without health insurance, Cleveland was among the least healthy cities in America.

#7 – Las Vegas, NV

Total score: 22.30

Why was it selected?

Sin City is up at all hours of the night, and with a divorce rate of 4.5% and an unemployment rate of 5.1%, it’s easy to see why Las Vegas residents aren’t getting enough sleep.

#8 – Dayton, OH

Total score: 22.49

Why was it selected?

With a reported 17 mentally unhealthy days and among the lowest employment of mental health professionals in the country, Dayton scored among the lowest cities for well being and mental health.

#9 – Savannah, GA

Total score: 22.84

Why was it selected?

The Georgia residents we polled had one of the lowest sleep hygiene scores in the country and reported experiencing poor sleep 2–3 times a week. They also slept less: over 40% of residents reported less than 7 hours of sleep a night.

#10 – Memphis, TN

Total score: 22.93

Why was it selected?

Memphis has among the highest crime rates in the country with 10,794 crimes reported per every 100,000 residents. Residents reported an average of 16 mentally unhealthy days a month and a sleep deprivation rate of 41%.

Don’t see your city? check out our full list below.

Key Findings

Scientists agree that most sleep disorders are actually triggered by underlying physical and emotional conditions. In order to assess the best and worst cities for sleep holistically, we broke down the most common conditions that can trigger sleeplessness and looked closely at key factors within each of them to get a better sense of how American are sleeping.

We also recognize that those experiencing sleeplessness may experience a range of challenges, and we wanted to include them all in our ranking. According to the AASM, there are four primary symptoms people experience when they’re not getting enough sleep:

  • A hard time initiating sleep
  • Difficulty maintaining sleep, and waking up frequently during the night
  • Waking up too early and unable to go back to sleep
  • Non-restorative or poor quality sleep

Sleep Deprivation

While we used sleep deprivation as our primary metric because we believe it’s the single best measure of sleep, we also polled Americans asking them about their experiences falling and staying asleep to gain a fuller understanding of the additional symptoms of insomnia.

Cities with the Lowest Rates of Sleep Deprivation

Rank City
1. Overland Park, KS
2. Fort Collins, CO
3. Lakewood, CO
4. Sioux Falls, SD
5. Fargo, ND

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors are external conditions that make sleep more difficult or that disrupt our natural circadian rhythms and sleep wake cycle, like noise and exposure to natural light instead of artificial light. Studies show that external stimuli during sleep can hinder our ability to fall asleep and also rouse us during light sleep cycles, and while scientists are still trying to determine the full effect of artificial and blue light on our sleep cycles, we do know that exposure to light is one of the most important factors in our ability to sleep.

We studied the Light Pollution Map and the National Transportation Noise Map to assess levels of noise and light pollution in the cities on our list. We hand pulled this data, taking a measurement from the metropolitan center of each city.

Our sleep environment is also disrupted by other people, so we included population density and crime rate in our assessment of environmental factors.

Cities With the Best Sleep Environment

Rank City
1. Augusta, GA
2. North Charleston, SC
3. Cape Coral, FL
4. Port St. Lucie, FL
5. Denton, TX

Overall Physical Health

Chronic pain, heart disease, and obesity can all contribute to insomnia and related sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Similarly, regular exercise improves sleep by regulating our circadian rhythms and reducing the risk of health problems and illness. To assess physical health, we pulled rates of obesity and cardiovascular disease across cities and compared them against ‘positive’ health indicators like access to health care and the rate of exercise.

Cities With the Best Physical Health

Rank City
1. Irvine, CA
2. Fremont, CA
3. Bellevue, WA
4. Carlsbad, CA
5. Cambridge, MA

Well Being

Emotional stress, anxiety, and depression are big contributors to lost sleep, and those who suffer from poor mental health experience insomnia at as much as 4 times more than those who don’t. Depression, anxiety, and sleep have a complex relationship, with poor mental health often causing sleep disruptions, and sleeplessness leading to increased feelings of depression and anxiety.

The data we collected in our Sleep Hygiene poll supports this. Many of the people we polled struggled with falling and staying asleep, and cited anxiety around finances and home or family problems as the primary reasons.

safest cities

To get a better idea of the overall well being of the cities on our list, we looked at stress factors like divorce rate, unemployment rate, and commute times, and added in the CDC’s data on the number of mentally unhealthy days among adults. We then compared these rates to mental health care access by looking at the employment rates and available jobs of therapists and counselors in that state.

Cities with the Lowest Mental and Emotional Stress

Rank City
1. Rochester, MN
2. Sunnyvale, CA
3. Billings, MT
4. Fremont, CA
5. Madison, WI

Sleep Hygiene

Poor sleep habits have a direct effect on sleeplessness and can be a major contributor to symptoms of insomnia. Not maintaining healthy sleep hygiene can decrease sleep duration by causing us to fall asleep later and wake up more frequently throughout the night.

Our Sleep Hygiene poll asked 2,500 people across the U.S. to answer questions about sleep hygiene. We asked about pre-bedtime activities, in-bed technology use, work habits, and sleep disruptions. The results showed us that our increasing use of technology at night and irregular sleep habits do have a correlation with nighttime sleep disruption.

While half of respondents keep a regular bedtime routine, over 30% use their devices to stream content or look at social media in bed before attempting to fall asleep, and 63% of respondents conduct work on a device at night, with 12% of people working primarily during nighttime hours.

Sleep Hygiene Poll: Sleep Disruptions

sleep hygiene poll 1

sleep hygiene poll 2

States with the Best Sleep Hygiene

Rank State
1. Wyoming
2. Vermont
3. South Dakota
4. New Mexico
5. Nebraska

Our Methodology

We compared the following data points across 266 cities and in 5 categories: Sleep Duration, Environmental Factors, Physical Health, Overall Well Being, and Sleep Hygiene. We used 19 factors to compare metrics at the city and state level. Final scores were calculated using a 100-point scale, with 100 points being the highest number of points possible. Data metrics with an (*) indicate that state-level metrics were used.

We compared cities with populations of 100,000 or more according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and chose to omit cities under 100,000 from consideration.

Sleep Duration – 35 Points

  • Average number of hours of sleep

Environmental Factors – 15 Points

  • Noise pollution
  • Light pollution
  • Population Density
  • Crime/Safety
  • Exposure to natural light*

Physical Health – 20 Points

  • Obesity rate
  • Amount of physical activity
  • Rate of cardiovascular disease
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Amount of average physical activity

Well Being – 20 Points

  • Number of mentally unhealthy days
  • Access to therapists and counselors*
  • Unemployment rate*
  • Traffic / commute time
  • Divorce rate*

Well Being – 20 Points

  • In bed activity (outside of sleep and sex)*
  • Pre-bedtime routine*
  • Rate of sleeplessness*

The Best and Worst Cities for Sleep

Wondering how your city stacks up? Here is the full ranking for the best and worst cities for sleep.

City Final Rank TOTAL SCORE
Madison, WI 1 85.78
Overland Park, KS 2 85.14
Rochester, MN 3 84.34
Fort Collins, CO 4 82.68
Carlsbad, CA 5 81.69
Olathe, KS 6 81.13
Ann Arbor, MI 7 80.85
Sioux Falls, SD 8 80.08
Lincoln, NE 9 79.43
Boise City, ID 10 78.45
Cedar Rapids, IA 11 78.38
Cary, NC 12 78.34
Fargo, ND 13 78.32
Sunnyvale, CA 14 78.14
Minneapolis, MN 15 78.13
Thousand Oaks, CA 16 77.99
Lakewood, CO 17 77.61
West Jordan, UT 18 77.13
Irvine, CA 19 77.03
St. Paul, MN 20 76.72
Provo, UT 21 76.64
Santa Clara, CA 22 76.53
Huntington Beach, CA 23 76.25
Roseville, CA 24 75.80
Frisco, TX 25 75.72
Bellevue, WA 26 75.07
Colorado Springs, CO 27 74.31
Salt Lake City, UT 28 74.27
Scottsdale, AZ 29 74.15
Denver, CO 30 73.97
Columbia, MO 31 73.00
Eugene, OR 32 72.37
Thornton, CO 33 71.69
Cambridge, MA 34 71.23
Billings, MT 35 71.09
Denton, TX 36 70.95
Fremont, CA 37 70.83
Seattle, WA 38 70.63
Alexandria, VA 39 70.17
Norman, OK 40 69.92
San Francisco, CA 41 69.55
Portland, OR 42 69.11
Simi Valley, CA 43 68.99
Albuquerque, NM 44 68.83
Fullerton, CA 45 68.66
Naperville, IL 46 68.64
Omaha, NE 47 68.39
Berkeley, CA 48 68.24
Torrance, CA 49 67.96
Orange, CA 50 67.58
Charleston, SC 51 67.54
San Diego, CA 52 67.54
Wilmington, NC 53 67.54
Costa Mesa, CA 54 67.25
Santa Rosa, CA 55 67.19
San Jose, CA 56 67.17
San Buenaventura, CA 57 67.12
Austin, TX 58 66.87
Aurora, CO 59 66.79
Gresham, OR 60 66.55
Santa Clarita, CA 61 66.37
Surprise, AZ 62 65.85
Des Moines, IA 63 65.80
Concord, CA 64 65.14
Carrollton, TX 65 65.03
Gilbert, AZ 66 64.90
Vancouver, WA 67 64.85
Daly City, CA 68 64.70
Plano, TX 69 64.66
McKinney, TX 70 64.38
Oceanside, CA 71 64.36
Green Bay, WI 72 63.77
Peoria, AZ 73 63.74
Spokane, WA 74 63.68
Anchorage, AK 75 63.57
West Valley City, UT 76 63.06
Midland, TX 77 63.03
Visalia, CA 78 63.02
Pasadena, CA 79 62.53
Raleigh, NC 80 61.46
Topeka, KS 81 61.14
Stamford, CT 82 60.68
Chandler, AZ 83 60.68
Tulsa, OK 84 60.56
Chula Vista, CA 85 60.16
Tempe, AZ 86 60.11
West Covina, CA 87 58.81
Springfield, IL 88 58.46
Peoria, IL 89 58.41
Springfield, MO 90 57.69
Elk Grove, CA 91 57.57
Glendale, CA 92 57.55
Salem, OR 93 57.46
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 94 57.29
Durham, NC 95 57.28
Cape Coral, FL 96 57.22
Abilene, TX 97 57.21
Fort Wayne, IN 98 56.96
Escondido, CA 99 56.60
Temecula, CA 100 56.59
Grand Rapids, MI 101 56.25
Anaheim, CA 102 56.22
Tallahassee, FL 103 56.16
Charlotte, NC 104 56.15
Wichita, KS 105 56.02
Pueblo, CO 106 55.71
Murrieta, CA 107 55.43
Oklahoma City, OK 108 55.22
Downey, CA 109 54.82
Sterling Heights, MI 110 54.81
Boston, MA 111 54.49
Antioch, CA 112 54.12
Manchester, NH 113 54.09
Reno, NV 114 53.73
Garden Grove, CA 115 53.33
McAllen, TX 116 52.94
Hayward, CA 117 52.50
Amarillo, TX 118 52.22
Greensboro, NC 119 52.02
Lowell, MA 120 51.88
Joliet, IL 121 51.72
Lubbock, TX 122 51.15
Tucson, AZ 123 50.80
Elgin, IL 124 50.62
Norwalk, CA 125 50.27
Independence, MO 126 50.24
Virginia Beach, VA 127 50.15
Pembroke Pines, FL 128 50.13
Little Rock, AR 129 49.68
Aurora, IL 130 49.59
Garland, TX 131 49.43
Irving, TX 132 49.11
Mesa, AZ 133 48.93
Fairfield, CA 134 48.51
Corpus Christi, TX 135 48.24
Gainesville, FL 136 48.22
Chesapeake, VA 137 48.20
Yonkers, NY 138 48.12
Grand Prairie, TX 139 47.93
Coral Springs, FL 140 47.67
Salinas, CA 141 47.52
Richmond, CA 142 47.25
Waco, TX 143 47.10
Bakersfield, CA 144 46.55
Pasadena, TX 145 46.51
Washington, DC 146 46.07
Oakland, CA 147 45.87
Murfreesboro, TN 148 45.63
High Point, NC 149 45.62
Lafayette, LA 150 45.38
Brownsville, TX 151 45.35
Corona, CA 152 45.07
Modesto, CA 153 44.99
Everett, WA 154 44.56
Glendale, AZ 155 44.16
Winston-Salem, NC 156 43.81
Fresno, CA 157 43.59
Sacramento, CA 158 43.42
Columbia, SC 159 43.11
Fayetteville, NC 160 43.06
Laredo, TX 161 42.97
Worcester, MA 162 42.87
Hialeah, FL 163 42.80
Oxnard, CA 164 42.67
Long Beach, CA 165 42.46
Tampa, FL 166 42.32
Kansas City, KS 167 42.27
San Antonio, TX 168 42.17
Los Angeles, CA 169 42.03
Lancaster, CA 170 41.99
Pittsburgh, PA 171 41.96
Wichita Falls, TX 172 41.89
Henderson, NV 173 41.79
Palmdale, CA 174 41.51
Lexington, KY 175 41.50
El Paso, TX 176 41.45
Port St. Lucie, FL 177 41.27
Huntsville, AL 178 41.10
Knoxville, TN 179 41.04
Newport News, VA 180 40.54
Kansas City, MO 181 40.23
Lansing, MI 182 40.12
Santa Ana, CA 183 39.41
Athens, GA 184 39.36
Pomona, CA 185 39.34
Vallejo, CA 186 39.33
Beaumont, TX 187 39.25
Tacoma, WA 188 38.83
Ontario, CA 189 38.65
Riverside, CA 190 38.44
Phoenix, AZ 191 38.33
Dallas, TX 192 38.24
Palm Bay, FL 193 38.16
Arlington, TX 194 38.07
Fontana, CA 195 37.92
Richmond, VA 196 37.92
Honolulu, HI 197 37.86
Hollywood, FL 198 37.80
Indianapolis, IN 199 37.72
Columbus, OH 200 37.55
Erie, PA 201 37.45
Chicago, IL 202 37.19
Louisville, KY 203 37.01
Clearwater, FL 204 36.64
Stockton, CA 205 36.32
Warren, MI 206 35.99
New Haven, CT 207 35.88
Houston, TX 208 35.80
Milwaukee, WI 209 35.51
Shreveport, LA 210 35.03
Miami, FL 211 34.93
Killeen, TX 212 34.47
Miramar, FL 213 34.44
Rockford, IL 214 34.01
Fort Worth, TX 215 33.60
Orlando, FL 216 33.59
Moreno Valley, CA 217 33.48
Fort Lauderdale, FL 218 33.09
Nashville, TN 219 33.02
Clarksville, TN 220 33.01
Victorville, CA 221 32.99
Jacksonville, FL 222 32.98
Norfolk, VA 223 32.97
Springfield, MA 224 32.94
Baton Rouge, LA 225 32.55
Chattanooga, TN 226 32.17
Montgomery, AL 227 31.84
St. Petersburg, FL 228 31.78
St. Louis, MO 229 31.62
Hampton, VA 230 31.42
Evansville, IN 231 31.31
North Charleston, SC 232 31.26
Allentown, PA 233 30.78
El Monte, CA 234 30.57
Syracuse, NY 235 30.22
Philadelphia, PA 236 30.22
Inglewood, CA 237 30.14
Jersey City, NJ 238 29.34
Waterbury, CT 239 28.99
New Orleans, LA 240 28.76
New York, NY 241 28.74
Bridgeport, CT 242 28.63
Rochester, NY 243 27.64
Toledo, OH 244 27.48
Atlanta, GA 245 27.37
South Bend, IN 246 27.19
Providence, RI 247 26.94
Akron, OH 248 25.80
Cincinnati, OH 249 25.76
Hartford, CT 250 25.69
Buffalo, NY 251 24.57
Mobile, AL 252 24.17
Columbus, GA 253 23.71
San Bernardino, CA 254 23.54
Augusta, GA 255 23.53
Flint, MI 256 23.25
Memphis, TN 257 22.93
Savannah, GA 258 22.84
Dayton, OH 259 22.49
Las Vegas, NV 260 22.30
Cleveland, OH 261 20.38
Detroit, MI 262 20.32
Jackson, MS 263 20.02
Baltimore, MD 264 18.94
Newark, NJ 265 16.94
Birmingham, AL 266 16.40

Sources