Chicago residents can go to bed tonight knowing they sleep better than New Yorkers but get less shuteye than Orlando, Fla.
In a comparison of major cities, Chicago gets on average 6 hours and 50 minutes of sleep, according to data analyzed by the makers of Jawbone UP, a movement- and sleep-tracking device. The company took a year’s worth of data from more than 10,000 Chicago residents who wear the device to count their steps and monitor their sleep, and found the city’s slumber habits are within the norm. In terms of ranking, residents of Las Vegas get the least sleep at an average of 6 hours and 32 minutes, New York gets 6 hours and 47 minutes and Orlando gets the most at 6 hours and 56 minutes, according to the data. Overall, Chicago is in the middle of the pack.
“The fact that we get nearly seven hours of sleep coming from a high performing part of the United States, it’s a reasonable amount of time,” said Amy Guralnick, a clinical associate of medicine at the University of Chicago Sleep Disorders Center.
However, there’s no real “magic number” when it comes to sleep, Guralnick explained. While she considers seven hours generally healthy for the average person, everyone differs. There’s short sleepers who can sleep less than five hours and be fine, and long sleepers that will still feel unrested after eight.
“Everyone’s magic number is different,” she said.
Guralnick also said those losing sleep over the numbers should consider the data. The averages only take into account those with the financial means to buy the device, and also are likely only worn by those concerned about their sleeping habits.
“There are some flaws to the device,” she said. “When you’re not measuring brain waves, you’re not going to get an accurate depiction of sleep.”
Guarlnick said it’s possible that devices like the Jawbone, which retails between $80 and $150, could be tricked into counting an insomniacs stillness as sleep, or someone with sleep apneas restlessness as being awake. She said anyone who has symptoms of poor sleep like fatigue and lack of alertness should get a sleep evaluation.
“If they have symptoms, it doesn’t matter what the Jawbone or any other device tells them, they should get a formal evaluation,” she said.
While the data by no means takes everyone in the city into account, some patterns are very Chicago. According to Brian Wilt, a data scientist with Jawbone, Chicago stayed up an average of 23 minutes later on June 24, 2013. Why is that significant? It was the day the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup. He also said there’s a three day spike of residents staying up later in early August of 2013, likely because of Lollapalooza.