Does Your Race Make You Sleep Less?

Alarm Clock on bedside table
In today’s socioeconomic landscape, it’s hard for anyone to go to get a good night’s sleep. Modern day levels of stress and health conditions such as obesity also contribute to one’s ability to get a good night’s rest, but according to a new study presented at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s SLEEP 2012 conference, race and ethnicity may be a factor in sleep disparity as well.

Can race really determine sleep well you sleep and how much sleep you get? Two new studies say yes!

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Whites sleep better than Asians, who sleep better than blacks, but why?

The first study, out of the State University of New York (SUNY), looked at 400,000 respondents from the National Health Interview Surveys between 2004 and 2010. Results show that Americans born in the United States were more likely to report sleeping longer than the recommended seven to nine hours each night. African-born Americans were more likely to report sleeping six hours or less, and Indian-born Americans reported six to eight hours a night.

“We think social desirability might be playing a role in the self-reported data,” said Abhishek Pandey, MD, the study’s lead author. “We think that insufficient sleep might be more prevalent in the population than the actual self report data, but under- or over-reported to project a better image of one’s perceived sleep health.”