America’s Most Awake Cities

Last Updated On October 13th, 2023
America’s Most Awake Cities

Key Takeaways

  • Cities That Never Sleep: Miami is the most awake major city in the United States based on factors like nighttime light and noise pollution, and availability of coffee shops. When including smaller cities, Paradise, Nevada jumps to the top spot as the most awake place due to its location adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip. California is the most awake state overall, with places there scoring highly across factors that disrupt sleep.
  • Where to Sleep Well: While bustling metropolitan areas such as Miami, Washington, DC, and New York were identified as the most awake cities, smaller communities like Port St. Lucie, Florida, and Poinciana, Florida, emerged as havens for quality sleep due to their comparatively lower levels of nighttime light and noise pollution. West Virginia is the sleepiest state, with relatively lower levels of environmental stimulation.
  • Why the Findings Matter: Understanding the state-level variations in sleep patterns provides valuable insights into the multifaceted influences on sleep quality and highlights the importance of implementing comprehensive sleep-focused strategies to address the diverse needs of different communities.

Getting a regular, good night’s rest is just as important to physical and mental health as your diet and exercise – but depending on where in America you are, that might sometimes be tricky.

We’ve crunched the numbers behind a few different factors that might make getting quality shut-eye more difficult, in order to identify the US cities and places that are the most awake.

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How did we gather the research?

We started with levels of nighttime light and noise pollution from traffic and aviation, using an ArcGIS study which analyzed the two. We then added two more factors – total number of businesses serving coffee and number of businesses serving coffee per 10,000 residents. For this we used the Census Business Builder tool.

High levels of those four factors combined – nighttime light, noise levels, coffee availability, and coffee shop density – would almost certainly make for a restless night.

Locations were then scored on each factor and given a ranking which, combined, provided a final table of America’s most awake cities. We filtered initially for major cities of 200,000 residents or more, but expanded it too to take in locations of 50,000 or more.

America’s most awake cities

Miami is officially America’s most awake city. The Magic City was in the top three for both noise and light levels and was 10th for the availability of coffee when looking at places with 200,000 residents or more.

America’s top five most awake cities are:

  1. Miami
  2. Washington, DC
  3. New York
  4. Boston
  5. Chicago

Explore the 20 top in the map below.

Smaller populations – bigger results

When looking at places with populations of 50,000 or more, the results change – and one new location full of sights, sounds and coffee – leaps to the top. Paradise, Nevada – immediately adjacent to the city of Las Vegas and home to much of the Strip, plus the Harry Reid International Airport – puts Miami into second, with the rest of the top five unchanged.

Because of the way census data is collected, Paradise and its population of 191,000 is split as a separate location from the wider Las Vegas. But that concentration of people in such a bustling area means it ranks highly across almost all factors and the chances of a good night’s sleep are pretty small – although that’s probably not the reason most people visit!

Shrinking the population filter also throws up some interesting results in each different factor.

Most nighttime light Most noise pollution Most coffee outlets per 10,000 residents
Union City, New Jersey Elizabeth, New Jersey Paradise, Nevada (48)
Paradise, Nevada Inglewood, California Louisville, Kentucky (41)
Cicero, Illinois Grapevine, Texas San Francisco, California (41)
Chicago, Illinois Newark, New Jersey Doral, Florida (35)
Miami, Florida Doral, Florida Portland, Oregon (35)

Places near airports, marine terminals and major freeways, or just densely populated and highly urbanized, all rank highly.

America’s least awake cities

The research also revealed the places at the other end of the scale – where peace, natural darkness and a lack of caffeine could mean more likelihood of quality sleep.

Of those with larger (200,000+) populations, it was another city in the Sunshine State of Florida that scored best. Port St Lucie was the second-darkest city, 8th quietest for traffic and aviation noise and came 101st for coffee shops per 10,000 people, giving it top spot overall.

America’s least awake cities overall are:

  1. Port St Lucie, Florida
  2. Moreno Valley, California
  3. Chesapeake, Virginia
  4. Santa Clarita, California
  5. Columbus, Georgia

Here’s how the least awake cities fared by category:

Least nighttime light Least noise pollution Coffee outlets per 10,000 residents
Chesapeake, Virginia Chesapeake, Virginia Moreno Valley, California (1)
Port St Lucie, Florida New Orleans, Louisiana Oxnard, California (1)
Columbus, Georgia Virginia Beach, Virginia Fontana, California (1)
Jacksonville, Florida Columbus, Georgia Yonkers, New York (1)
Lexington, Kentucky Port St Lucie, Florida Indianapolis, Indiana (1)

What about smaller places?

Applying the same filter as before and shrinking down to locations of just 50,000 or more, the list of the least awake places changes dramatically as more rural communities rank higher.

Here’s the top five places with populations of 50,000-plus that rank the best for allowing a good night’s rest.

  1. Poinciana, Florida
  2. Buckeye, Arizona
  3. Maricopa, Arizona
  4. El Dorado Hills, California
  5. North Port, Florida

State guide

Finally, we used the same data to identify which states offer the best and worst possibility of peaceful rest, with West Virginia the sleepiest and California the most awake. The golden state – America’s most populous – was home to 189 of the 865 analyzed locations in total, making it by far the noisiest and lightest overall. It also has a whopping 76,000 outlets where you can get a coffee – almost 30,000 more than the next most, Texas.

Explore the map below to see how each state ranked.


Data around light and noise levels was collected from a study combining the two by ArcGIS. Population and location data is according to the US Census Bureau and includes census-designated places. We used the Census Business Builder tool to identify the number of businesses by location where you would expect to be able to purchase a cup of coffee. This included cafes, restaurants, fast food outlets, snack bars and food trucks. We then ranked locations by each category – noise levels from traffic and aviation, nighttime light levels, total number of coffee-serving businesses, and number of coffee-serving businesses per 10,000 residents – to provide a combined final score and overall table of the ‘most awake’ places.

About the author

Stacy Liman is a journalism graduate student and a freelance writer with a focus on mindfulness and content marketing. Her passion for understanding and writing about the science of sleep enables her to provide valuable insights into achieving healthier and deeper rest. Stacy's commitment to helping people improve their sleep drives her exploration of new mattresses and sleep-promoting gadgets.

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