While Californians get the best sleep, they average less than the seven to nine hours per night that experts recommend.

A recent study by One Poll on behalf of Herbalife surveyed 5,000 Americans, split evenly by state, about the average quality of their sleep, how many high-quality nights of sleep they achieve each week, and the average hours they sleep on a nightly basis. 

The survey also examined Americans’ sleep habits and the undeniable havoc they can wreak on both sleep quality and overall health.

According to survey findings, respondents in California were found to get the best sleep, with East Coast states dominating the rest of the top five positions. South Carolina and New York came in second and third, respectively, with Maryland and New Jersey tied for fourth and North Carolina taking fifth.

Despite coming in first place overall, Californians rated the quality of their average night’s sleep at six and a half out of 10. And while experts recommend that adults sleep between seven and nine hours a night, those in California receive just over six and a half hours of sleep per night.

Regardless of where they live, 55% of respondents can’t remember the last time they had a “perfect night” of sleep, and 78% can’t recall when they last had a “perfect week” of sleep. While “perfect” sleep might be unattainable, less than half of respondents (48%) said yes when asked whether they know how to get a good night’s sleep.

In fact, within the two hours before bed, 66% of respondents admit to watching TV or scrolling through their phone for an extended period of time, either on social media (38%) or engaging in other activities (29%), none of which are recommended before bedtime.

Californians were slightly better than average, which may contribute to why their state came in No. 1 for overall sleep. Only 54% watch TV before bed, while 32% scroll through social media, and a quarter (25%) do something else on their phone before falling asleep.

Additionally, the survey revealed that 74% of respondents agreed that when they receive poor-quality sleep, their overall health is negatively impacted. Regardless of their age, respondents said poor-quality sleep leads to a lack of energy (67%), feelings of anxiety or depression (41%), and being short-tempered when interacting with loved ones (38%). Getting better-quality sleep can be the key to alleviating these undesirable health and behavior concerns.

“Getting adequate quality sleep is essential for health and well-being. Sleep supports a variety of important functions, including our metabolism and brain health, and can have an impact on certain health conditions like heart disease, obesity, and depression,” says John Heiss, PhD, vice president of Global Product Innovation at Herbalife, in a release. “A New Year resolution to improve sleep quality will undoubtedly have many health benefits.”

State Sleep Scores From Best Sleep to Worst

  1. California
  2. South Carolina
  3. New York
  4. Maryland (tied for fourth)
  5. New Jersey (tied for fourth)
  6. North Carolina
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Ohio (tied for eighth)
  9. Arizona (tied for eighth)
  10. Washington (tied for eighth)
  11. Michigan (tied for 11th)
  12. Colorado (tied for 11th)
  13. Georgia (tied for 13th)
  14. Texas (tied for 13th)
  15. Virginia
  16. Illinois (tied for 16th)
  17. Rhode Island (tied for 16th)
  18. Wisconsin
  19. Arkansas (tied for 19th)
  20. Tennessee (tied for 19th)
  21. Alabama
  22. Florida (tied for 22nd)
  23. Missouri (tied for 22nd)
  24. Mississippi (tied for 22nd)
  25. Alaska
  26. Delaware (tied for 26th)
  27. Indiana (tied for 26th)
  28. Nevada (tied for 26th)
  29. New Hampshire (tied for 26th)
  30. Louisiana (tied for 30th)
  31. South Dakota (tied for 30th)
  32. Kentucky
  33. Utah (tied for 33rd)
  34. North Dakota (tied for 33rd)
  35. Vermont (tied for 33rd)
  36. Oregon
  37. Idaho (tied for 37th)
  38. Iowa (tied for 37th)
  39. Nebraska (tied for 37th)
  40. Massachusetts (tied for 37th)
  41. New Mexico (tied for 37th)
  42. Connecticut
  43. Kansas (tied for 43rd)
  44. Oklahoma (tied for 43rd)
  45. Minnesota (tied for 43rd)
  46. Hawaii (tied for 46th)
  47. Wyoming (tied for 46th)
  48. Maine
  49. West Virginia
  50. Montana

Heiss recommends specific actions one can take to help improve sleep and overall health:

  • Have a low-fat meal at dinner and limit food within three hours of sleep: Low-fat meals are digested more quickly, and healthy carbohydrates help stimulate the production of brain chemicals that help you relax and get to sleep.
  • Monitor caffeine and alcohol intake: Caffeine and alcohol can disrupt normal sleep patterns. You may be able to fall asleep, but you don’t stay asleep, making it harder to reach the deepest (and most restful) stage of sleep.
  • Make exercise the norm: Evidence suggests that getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity daily can help improve sleep quality. Exercise can also help stabilize your mood and decompress the mind, a cognitive process that is important for naturally transitioning to sleep.
  • Keep a schedule: While life may be unpredictable, make every effort to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, especially on weekends. This creates a sleep rhythm that your body will thank you for.
  • Prepare yourself to rest: Dim house lights in the evening and follow the digital detox rule of no computers or digital readers at least one hour before bedtime – that means TV, too.
  • De-stress with relaxation techniques: There’s extensive research on the benefits of breath work and relaxation techniques such as meditation and reading. When done before bedtime, meditation may help reduce insomnia and sleep troubles by promoting overall calmness.

Photo 50986130 © Antonio Guillem | Dreamstime.com