Update – Louisville and sleep

I had the opportunity today to hear directly from Louisville residents about their insomnia.  I was on WGTK NewsTalk 970 AM for a half-hour, talking about our recent study which named Louisville, KY as the metro area with the most sleeplessness.

One caller talked about the stress of holding down several jobs, but most callers spoke about the allergies and respiratory issues which come from the abundant pollens, spores and molds found in the Ohio Valley.  The allergies make breathing difficult, leading to a poor night’s sleep and feeling tired the following day.

This matches nicely with our previous studies focusing on allergies and asthma, which found Louisville as one of the worst places in the country for pollens.  (The other allergy hotspot is the Great Plains region, such as Kansas City.)  (Nerdy fact – there are four main respiratory allergens; tree pollen, grass pollen, ragweed, and molds and spores.  People are often affected by one and not the others.)

It was really valuable to get this feedback, because most research on sleeplessness identifies stress as a one of the key factors.  But most callers I spoke with today mentioned allergies as the main cause of their insomnia.  Perhaps this will lead to new areas of investigation.

Another key factor of insomnia identified by sleep experts is obesity.  And this is a condition which affects Louisville, which has one of the higher rates in the nation, in the 80th percentile according to data from the CDC.  Louisville also has one of the highest incidences of cigarette smoking, and its residents also reports high rates of hypertension, cholesterol, and lack of exercise.  These health issues are also a likely contributor to the city’s sleeplessness.

Thanks to Doug Proffitt and his crew for having me on his show.

Bert on Louisville radio, for an hour

Recently, CBS News Sunday Morning released the results of our Sperling’s study on sleeplessness, naming Louisville, KY as the most sleepless city.  Naturally, this has been the talk of Louisville.

So Bert will be joining host Doug Proffitt this Thursday (Nov 17) from 1-2pm ET on WGTK NewsTalk 970 AM.  We’ll be talking about this and other studies, our Best Places work, and what makes Louisville special.

Click here to listen live.
And here’s the website for WGTK.

I hope you’ll join us!


Washington Post – DC Gains Urban Hipsters

I was asked by the Post to explain why the DC metro has suddenly gained so many 25-34 year olds.  According to the Census Bureau, DC is now right up there with hipster havens like Austin and Portland (Oregon).

DC Area Gains Young Adults

Reporter Carol Morello asked me, “Does this mean Washington is now ‘cool’?”

My answer was, “Umm, sorry, no.”  I explained, it’s a simple case of economics.  The DC area has had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. along large metro areas.  Young people are flocking to where the jobs are.

Bill Frey, of the Brookings Institution, also chimed in, agreeing that it’s the economy, but also stating that DC has a “certain vibe.”

My quote in the article spoke about each place has its own identity or brand, and Washington’s is one of government and power.  “I don’t know if you want your seat of government to be too cool and quirky.”

Sort of like, you don’t want to find out your heart surgeon also does stand-up comedy.