Do you find yourself guzzling coffee just to stay awake? Chances are you’re not getting enough sleep -- which spells trouble for your health. “Sleep deprivation increases risk of heart disease,” says Keith Roach, MD, Sharecare's chief medical officer and co-creator of the RealAge® Test.“It also increases risk of obesity, worsens memory, increases anxiety and depression and may raise risk of excess alcohol use.” However, getting adequate sleep -- at least six hours, but no more than nine -- can make your RealAge up to 1.5 years younger if you’re a woman and 0.9 years younger if you’re a man. Find out the top 10 cities where residents get the most sleep and the least amount of sleep.
A lot of sleep is brewing in Milwaukee! The Brew City tops our most well-rested cities in America list. That could be why Milwaukee is also number one for having both low rates of hypertension and C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and heart disease risk. According to an Emory University study, people who slept fewer than six hours had higher C-reactive protein levels compared to those who slept six to nine hours. Residents here also rank second for having a healthy mouth. That may be no coincidence, as sleep disorders like insomnia can increase stress and lead to nighttime jaw clenching, which can ultimately damage your teeth and ruin your smile.
Politics aren’t keeping Washington, DC, residents up at night. Along with being one of the youngest cities in America, residents here don’t skimp on sleep. We don’t know for sure why, but that could be because the nation’s capitol also ranks number one for income and three for employment. “Being without a job can cause depression, stress and anxiety, which can wreak havoc with sleep,” says sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD. “Losing a job also often means losing the schedule that goes with employment, and that loss of routine can lead to irregular bedtimes and wake times, and too much sleep.”
The Windy City is our fifth best city for sleep. It's also the second best city for drinking alcohol in moderation -- which may help boost their sleep ranking. That’s because drinking higher amounts of alcohol can reduce REM sleep, the deepest and most restful stage of slumber. Chicago is also one of the least stressed cities. According to a National Sleep Foundation study, stress caused by finances, jobs and relationships are the most common complaints that keep people up at night. The brain perceives these problems as threats it needs to process and solve, so it can’t turn off its alert system and let the sleep drive take over. Controlling stress can be a linchpin of a healthy sleep plan.
Rounding out our top cities list is our ninth youngest city in America. Hartford residents eat healthy (lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains), drink moderate amounts of alcohol and have good cholesterol. They also rank second for not smoking. That could be one more reason why Hartford made our Best Sleep list: Epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins Medical Center found that smokers took longer to fall asleep and experienced less total sleep time than non-smokers.