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Insufficient Sleep - Ages 65+
Insufficient Sleep - Ages 65+ in United States
United States

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Insufficient Sleep - Ages 65+ by State

Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported sleeping, on average, fewer than seven hours in a 24-hour period

Insufficient Sleep - Ages 65+ Trends

Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported sleeping, on average, fewer than seven hours in a 24-hour period

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Insufficient Sleep - Ages 65+

About Insufficient Sleep - Ages 65+

US Value: 26.0%

Top State(s): South Dakota: 18.2%

Bottom State(s): Hawaii: 38.6%

Definition: Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported sleeping, on average, fewer than seven hours in a 24-hour period

Data Source and Years: CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2020

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

Insufficient sleep has been recognized as a threat to public health. More than a third of adults in the United States do not get enough sleep regularly. Millions of adults suffer from chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders, such as sleep apnea and insomnia. Older adults, in particular, are more prone to insomnia and sleep apnea, which can drastically reduce sleep quality. Sleep disturbances are common in older adults who use medications for chronic conditions.

Sleep is critical for brain and body functions, including the immune system, hormonal and metabolic systems, cognition and emotion. Insufficient sleep is associated with chronic diseases such as cancer, depression, diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

The prevalence of insufficient sleep is higher among:

  • Older women compared with older men.
  • Older multiracial and Black adults compared with older white adults.
  • College graduates compared with those with lower levels of education.
  • Older adults with an annual household income less than $25,000 compared with those with higher levels of income.

The National Institute of Health recommends that adults sleep seven to eight hours nightly. Everyone could benefit from following a sleep schedule. While making up for lost sleep through naps may provide short-term boosts of attentiveness, it does not provide the health benefits gained through regular adequate nighttime sleep. Limiting electronic device use before bedtime may improve sleep quality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips for better sleep.

According to one study, solutions specific to older adults should include a comprehensive examination of contributing factors to sleep deficiency that may be treatable. These factors include but are not limited to primary sleep disorders, acute and chronic medical conditions, behavioral and psychological stressors, environmental triggers and medications.

Healthy People 2030 has a goal to increase the proportion of adults who get sufficient sleep.

Institute of Medicine. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Edited by Harvey R. Colten and Bruce M. Altevogt. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2006.

Medic, Goran, Micheline Wille, and Michiel E. H. Hemels. “Short- and Long-Term Health Consequences of Sleep Disruption.” Nature and Science of Sleep 2017, no. 9 (May 19, 2017): 151–61.

Miner, Brienne, and Meir H. Kryger. “Sleep in the Aging Population.” Sleep Medicine Clinics 12, no. 1 (March 2017): 31–38.

Suzuki, Keisuke, Masayuki Miyamoto, and Koichi Hirata. “Sleep Disorders in the Elderly: Diagnosis and Management.” Journal of General and Family Medicine 18, no. 2 (April 2017): 61–71.

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