The Best Cities for a Good Night's Sleep in the U.S.
Jan 29th, 2021 •
Sleep is a universal need, but it doesn’t come easily to all. There are many factors that can affect whether or not you get a good night’s sleep: your physical health, mental health, diet, environment, and even where you live (especially if you’re in a loud city with bright lights).
We wanted to find out, out of all the largest cities in the U.S., which are the best for sleep, and which are the worst? We evaluated data on 500 of the largest cities in America including sleep quantity times, physical activity levels, mental health quality, obesity rates, commute times, and average temperatures to find out. Keep reading to see if your city is one of the top!
The Best Cities for Sleep
The top 10 best cities for sleep in the U.S. according to our data analysis are:
- Boulder, CO (79.36)
- Longmont, CO (78.21)
- Centennial, CO (77.7)
- Newport Beach, CA (77.33)
- Plymouth, MN (77.3)
- Bellevue, WA (77.1)
- Overland Park, KS (77.01)
- Fort Collins, CO (76.89)
- Arvada, CO (76.9)
- Loveland, CO (76.55)
These top-scoring cities proved to be fit for a good night’s sleep due to a combination of healthy habits, lower commute times, and a more temperate climate. Surprisingly, many of these top cities are located in Colorado.
In fact, the #1 best city for sleep, Boulder, Colorado, has consistently ranked well in many city rankings for being one of the happiest and healthiest cities in the U.S.. National Geographic ranked Boulder, CO as the happiest city in the U.S. in 2017. The number 2 ranking, Longmont, CO has also gained a great reputation, ranked by WalletHub in the top cities for first-time home buyers.
If you’re looking to get the experience of living in city without sacrificing a good night’s sleep, these cities seem like the ideal place to reside!
The Worst Cities for Sleep
The top 10 worst cities for sleep in the U.S. according to our data analysis are:
- Camden, NJ (55.38)
- Gary, IN (55.95)
- Detroit, MI (56.21)
- Newark, NJ (57.24)
- Youngstown, OH (58.09)
- Albany, GA (58.3)
- Flint, MI (58.34)
- Dayton, OH (59.11)
- Honolulu, HI (59.2)
- Birmingham, AL (59.41)
According to our analysis, these cities are the worst for getting a good night’s sleep. These cities scored the lowest for physical health factors, mental health factors, commute times, and average temperatures. Getting a good night’s sleep in these cities can be more challenging. The #1 worst city for sleep, Camden, NJ, has also been ranked the most dangerous and violent city to live in, so it’s no surprise that it came on top for being the worst to sleep in.
Gary, Indiana, the second worst city to sleep in, has also been ranked the most miserable city to live in by Business Insider. Detroit and Flint, two cities in Michigan, also came up on our worst cities for sleep list. Coincidentally, these two cities have also ranked as some of the worst cities to live in. If you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, these locales may be some to stay away from.
The Top 50 Cities for Sleep in America
Looking for a good night’s sleep without sacrificing the city life? These cities listed in our top 50 ranking above all scored well for some of the most important factors contributing to getting a good night’s sleep! Did you see your city on the list?
The Best (and Worst) Cities in Each Category
To complete our analysis, we considered many factors including data on:
- Sleep quantity (% of adult population sleeping more or less than 7 hours)
- Mental health (% of adult population experiencing mental health as “not good” for greater than or equal to 14 days)
- Obesity (% of adult population with obesity)
- Physical activity (% of adult population with no leisure-time physical activity)
- Commute time (average commute time to work)
- Average temperature (average high temperatures)
Below, we illustrate which city was the best and which city was the worst for each of these individual factors.
Each of these factors are critical to evaluating how well you sleep.
First and foremost, obviously we had to consider sleep quantity. If you’re sleeping less than 7 hours a night, you aren’t allowing your body time for the restorative rest it needs. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night to fully rest and recover. Residents of Boulder, CO seem to be soaking up that precious sleep time the best, but those in Detroit, MI could use some more time for shut eye. According to the data, 50% of people in Detroit sleep less than 7 hours each night.
Your mental health also contributes largely to your sleep health. The relationship between mental health and sleep is strong and reciprocal, meaning when one suffers, so does the other. Residents in Plymouth, MN seem to have the most healthy ratings for mental health, but those in Flint, MI – who have been dealing with the water crisis for years now – unsurprisingly had the lowest mental health ratings. It’s important to seek help when you need it for your mental health as it affects all aspects of your life and wellbeing.
Obesity and Physical Activity
Obesity and physical activity levels are also important to evaluate. Your exercise levels and physical fitness correlate strongly with your sleep. Milpitas, CA had the lowest rates of obesity, while Gary, IN had the highest.
In terms of physical fitness, residents of Newport Beach, CA were the most active and residents of Camden, NJ were the least. If you’re finding it difficult to make time for exercise, check out these bedroom exercises you can do from the comfort of your room – some of them are even ideal to perform before bedtime for better sleep!
The longer your commute time, the earlier you will have to wake up to make it to work each day. In Lincoln, NE, people are enjoying the shortest commute times, while in Washington DC, people are having to plan for the longest commute times. Cultivating a healthy work-life balance is key to a good life and a good night’s sleep. Check out these tips for the best ways to improve your work-life balance based on a recent study we did.
High temperatures make it difficult to achieve a comfortable night’s sleep. In Milwaukee, WI, residents are comfortably enjoying a cool night’s sleep, but in Phoenix, AZ, people are dealing with the highest average temperatures. If you’re struggling to cool off in your sleep, consider optimizing your bedding with a cooling mattress and cooling sheets that allow for better airflow in your sleep surface.
Sleeping in the city can seem like a challenge, so it’s refreshing to know there are some cities where a good night’s sleep isn’t as difficult to come by! Among the challenges that everyone can face with physical and mental health, those living in the city have many additional challenges like dealing with long commute times, unhealthy air pollution, light pollution, and noise pollution.
If you’re struggling for a good night’s sleep, take a look at some of our sleep resources that can help lead you to your best night’s sleep. We’ve consulted many experts in the health field to curate the most helpful resources for better sleep. Plus, we’ve spent hundreds of hours reviewing mattresses and other bedding products to help lead you to the best sleep products for better sleep.
Methodology and Sources
We started our analysis with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 500 Cities Project. This dataset provides model-based estimates for 27 measures of chronic disease relating to unhealthy behaviors, health outcomes, and the use of preventative services. This project was assembled using measures from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 2015 and 2016, Census Bureau data from the 2010 census, and American Community Survey (ACS) data from 2011-2016.
The factors from the CDC’s 500 cities project that we incorporated into our data analysis include:
- Model-based estimates for sleeping less than 7 hours among adults aged >=18 years – 2016
- Model-based estimates for obesity among adults aged >=18 years – 2017
- Model-based estimates for no leisure-time physical activity among adults aged >=18 years – 2017
Model-based estimates for mental health not good for >=14 days among adults aged >=18 years – 2017
We also factored in data from the U.S. News Best Places to Live report, including average commute times and average high and low temperatures. Then, we calculated a weighted total score out of 100, with the model-based estimates for sleeping less than 7 hours among adults from the CDC’s project weighted at 50 points, and each of the other five factors weighted at 10 points. We adjusted the scores for any cities without data present for certain factors.
You are free to share our findings with your audience. We simply ask that you share a link back to this page to credit our work.
What Keeps Americans Up at Night?
We surveyed 2,000 Americans to learn what's keeping people up at night. Learn about how COVID-19, environmental factors, and strange dreams are keeping people from a good night's sleep.
Most Common Nightmares by State
We surveyed over 1,500 Americans to learn which nightmare is most common in your state. Learn yours and see fun facts about what may cause the communal fear.