News & Politics

1 in 5 Washingtonians Dreams About Dying

A sleep app survey found that only Detroit dreams about death as much as we do. Is everyone okay out there?

Photo illustration by Andrew Beaujon. Person sleeping by theverest; DC view photograph by Glopphy; gravestones by koya79 and RapidEye. Photographs by iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Washington, DC, is known for a lot of things—cherry blossoms, monuments, being the kind of place where you can buy a wall for $50 grand—but one figure stands out in “The Snooze Report,” a recent survey conducted by the sleep app Calm: 20 percent of adults in DC, it says, “regularly dream about dying.”

That means 1 in 5 of us are, according to information I reported by searching Google Images, processing grief, in some sort of transitional phase, or maybe problem-solving. That’s well above the national average of 13 percent, according to a spokesperson for the study.

In fact, DC dreams about dying more than any other city than Detroit, which is about the same percentage, the spokesperson says. 13 percent of New Yorkers and 12 percent of Philadelphians dream about dying. Nationwide, 18 percent of members of Generation Z report that they dream of dying. Maybe we’re just young at heart?

Some other facts about Washingtonians and sleep, according to the survey:

  • 28 percent of adults here “dream about work-related scenarios” (that’s all?);
  • 51 percent “nap at least once a week”;
  • 87 percent “are tired.”

The nation’s sleepiest city, according to Calm, is Phoenix, where 91 percent of adults report being tired. Other arguably interesting results: 1o percent of Los Angeles adults “dream about being a part of a video game,” which seems low but okay; 25 percent of people in Las Vegas sleep in the nude, so definitely do not sleep on top of your covers while visiting; and 14 percent of Memphis adults “say they have peed where they shouldn’t have while sleeping,” which really does seem like a something to discuss with one’s doctor.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, the company launched a phone number this week—(844) 4-CALM-SLEEP—where tired people can hear soothing sounds from pianos, nature, or Harry Styles. Please note: While those all sound nice and relaxing, none of them will necessarily stop you from dreaming about death.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.