This might be a shock — I’m sure you’re a little tired — but Minnesotans are some of the best sleepers in the nation.

Most Minnesotans get enough sleep on a regular basis, bringing home the bronze, behind South Dakota and Colorado in a study published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Con Iber, director of sleep medicine for Fairview Health Systems, said we are beating the odds as a sleep-enriched state in a sleep-deprived country.

“I think we’re a very health-conscious society, pretty active physically and generally well-informed,” Iber said. “I don’t think it’s just the northern latitude, it’s about being active and valuing sleep.”

The study found that a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep, which is associated with chronic illnesses like obesity, diabetes and poor mental health.

Anne Wheaton, an epidemiologist at the CDC and an author of the study, doesn’t bring her phone in her bedroom.

“I think I got a smartphone around the time I started doing sleep research,” Wheaton said. “I really didn’t want to have that distraction in my room. I read before I go to bed — from something other than a glowing device. Everything to help sleep.”

Iber said lack of sleep has been an issue in our society for a long time.

“The invention of the light bulb was probably the biggest enemy of sleep,” he said. Caffeine, electronic devices and the increasing prevalence of 24/7 industries don’t help much either.

Sleep disorders, stress and sadness will deprive even Minnesotans of their sleep. Few people approached in downtown Minneapolis Friday admitted getting enough.

K.C. Gunther, treasurer at Haldeman-Homme Inc., said he doesn’t sleep very well.

“There are the things that you think about when you wake up at night that will keep you up,” Gunther said.

Michaela Day, an activist with Minneapolis Black Lives Matter, says she’s not surprised Minnesotans sleep well. “We almost live in the arctic tundra,” she said with a laugh.

But she doesn’t sleep well herself. “There are too many things to read. Things about the world, history and current events,” she said.

Henry Slocum, a mechanic at the Hub Bike Co-op in Minneapolis, gets the recommended dose of 7 hours of sleep a night. Then again, he bikes an average of 100 miles a week.

“I generally do a pretty good job,” Slocum said. “If I could get 8 hours every night, that would be excellent, but 7 is adequate.”

So keep it up, Minnesotans: Keep sleeping, get active, stay healthy.

“Getting enough sleep isn’t going to solve all of our problems but it’s an important component to a healthy lifestyle,” Wheaton said.


Zoe Peterson is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.