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New Study Pulls the Blanket Off America's Best and Worst Cities for Sleep

"Sleep in the City" Study Examines Relationship Between Sleep and Happiness

A new study unveils the best and worst cities in America for getting a restful night's sleep. Minneapolis was ranked as the best place for restful sleep, Detroit was identified as the least likely city to wake up refreshed. New York City is notorious for being "the city that never sleeps,", and perhaps this is why it ranked 6th among the worst cities for sleep.

The "Sleep in the City" study was conducted by national research expert Bert Sperling, well known for his national "Best Places" studies, in partnership with Ambien, a prescription sleep aid. The study was based on analysis of recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, along with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau

The Best and Worst Places for Sleep

The "Sleep in the City" study ranked America's 50 most populous metropolitan areas based on five criteria: the number of days in the past month that residents reported not getting enough sleep or rest, average length of daily commute, divorce rate, unemployment rate, and overall happiness index. The happiness index was derived from questions about a person's physical, mental, and emotional health.

For the best-ranked cities for sleep, the study found higher scores for overall happiness and low unemployment, which highly correlated to number of nights with good sleep. The cities that scored poorly on number of nights with good sleep also had low scores on measures of happiness, and were established as the worst cities for sleep. According to the study, Detroit earned the distinction as the worst place for sleep due to a low number of nights with good sleep, along with a high unemployment rate and a low happiness index. Minneapolis was identified as the city where residents may have the easiest time getting a restful night's sleep. Residents reported having nearly 23 nights of good sleep during an average month. Other factors that helped Minneapolis clinch the title of best city for sleep were a high score on the overall happiness index, a short commute time, and low unemployment.

Best Cities for SleepWorst Cities for Sleep
1. Minneapolis , MN1. Detroit, MI
2. Anaheim, CA2. Cleveland, OH
3. San Diego, CA3. Nashville, TN
4. Raleigh-Durham, NC4. Cincinnati, OH
5. Washington, DC5. New Orleans, LA
6. Northern NJ6. New York, NY
7. Chicago, IL7. Las Vegas, NV
8. Boston, MA8. Miami, FL
9. Austin, TX9. San Francisco, CA
10. Kansas City, MO10. St. Louis, MO

Exploring the Relationship Between Sleep and Quality of Life

In addition to evaluating the best and worst cities for sleep, Sperling analyzed additional data to uncover any relationships between happiness and certain quality of life indicators, such as income, employment, fitness, and sleep. The analysis of comprehensive CDC data that examined the behaviors and attitudes of more than a half million Americans found a strong correlation between an individual's level of happiness and the amount of sleep or rest a person gets each day. There was no direct correlation between feeling happy and having a higher income, educational attainment, being fit and thin or having a job. The direct association between happiness and sleep may explain why those cities that scored highest on the happiness index also had a high number of nights with good sleep, and ranked among the top cities for getting the best sleep.

"Our researchers initially thought we would validate beliefs that an individual's financial security or the quality of an individual's relationships would have an overriding impact on one's happiness," said Bert Sperling, research expert and founder, Sperling's BestPlaces. "However, the conclusion appears clear: getting consistent restful sleep is strongly correlated to being happy and productive, and feeling healthy both mentally and emotionally."

"Sleep has a significant effect on a person's well-being; persistent poor sleep can cause people to feel Ôout of touch' with what's going on in their lives," said Ellen Miller, MD, sleep expert and clinical assistant professor of medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Not getting enough sleep may lead to increased irritability, risk for depression, or weight gain. Recent evidence also suggests that persistent poor sleep, left untreated, may even cause more serious conditions."

Recognizing Sleep Disorders

While the residents of Detroit may have a more difficult time getting a restful night's sleep than the rest of the country, many people may experience sleep-related problems and disorders, regardless of where they live. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 58 percent of the adult population reported one or more symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights per week. Insomnia was defined as any of the following symptoms: difficulty falling asleep, waking a lot during the night, waking up too early and not being able to get back to sleep, and waking up feeling unrefreshed. Fortunately, insomnia is a manageable condition, and treatments exist that can help individuals fall asleep fast, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling refreshed.

"If you've been sleeping poorly for some time and recognize that your sleepless nights are affecting your days, it may be time to talk to a doctor," said Richard Gelula, chief executive officer, National Sleep Foundation. "A sleep diary, noting such things as the time you went to bed, the time you awoke, and other similar items, may help you and your doctor determine the appropriate solution, which may include lifestyle changes, behavioral therapy, or treatment with a prescription sleep aid."

For more information and other resources on sleep, such as a free Sleep Solutions Online Information Kit, visit www.shuteye.com. The kit includes a free trial offer for a prescription sleep aid, a sleep diary to help determine the underlying reasons for your sleep problems, and other useful information. Sleep information is also available on the National Sleep Foundation's Web site, www.sleepfoundation.org.

"Sleep in the City" Best and Worst Places for Sleep Methodology

The best and worst places for sleep were derived from a meta-analysis of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), conducted annually by the CDC, and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. The analysis was based on five criteria, including1:

The happiness index was derived from the responses to eight questions on the CDC BRFSS. Happiness was defined as feeling very healthy and full of energy with the absence of depression, stress, tension, anxiety, worry, and sadness.

Unemployment rate was included as a measure of stress that is likely to contribute to sleep problems, and a lengthy commute was assumed to directly reduce a person's time available for sleep. In analyzing more than a half million responses from an annual study conducted by the CDC, the Sperling team found a direct link between a restful night's sleep and feeling healthier, happier, and more energetic.

"Sleep in the City" Sleep and Quality of Life Methodology

Sperling's BestPlaces used data from the BRFSS to perform correlation analyses between various quality of life factors - including level of education, income, employment status, body mass index, and marital status - to determine those that had the greatest significance on health and wellness. Each category was compared with each of the others to determine an R-Squared value. As the R-Squared value approaches 1.00, it indicates an increasingly closer relationship between the two variables. Conversely, as the R-Squared value decreases, the causal relationship between the variables is weaker.

About sanofi-aventis, makers of Ambien
The sanofi-aventis Group is the world's third largest pharmaceutical company, ranking number one in Europe. Backed by a world-class R&D organization, sanofi-aventis is developing leading positions in seven major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular disease, thrombosis, oncology, diabetes, central nervous system, internal medicine, and vaccines.