Last updated: May 14, 2012
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If you're having trouble getting enough shut-eye, your zip code may be to blame: People in the southern U.S. don't get as much sleep uninterrupted sleep as those in the rest of the country, according to a new study mapping the quality of Americans. (See the full map here.) The researchers speculate that regional differences in everything from health care access to weather patterns might play a role.


Since you're unlikely to pack up and move to a more sleep-friendly state, here's a tip to improve your zzz's, no matter where you live: Stop hitting the snooze button. "The average snooze button time is seven to nine minutes, which is not enough time for the body to return to deep sleep," says Michael Breus, PhD, author of The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan. "In seven minutes you'll only get to stage 2 sleep, which is neither physically nor mentally restorative. It takes 25 to arrive at stage 3 or stage 4 sleep, which is the good stuff."

The takeaway: Set your alarm to go off at the last possible moment to maximize your minutes of high-quality slumber.