Monday, August 20, 2012
Non-Hispanic whites get more and better-quality sleep than people of other races
Blacks are the most likely to get shorter, more restless sleep. Doctors say that unlocking the secret to racial sleep disparities might yield insights into why people in some minority groups experience higher rates of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. In one study, whites from the Chicago area were found to get an average of 7.4 hours of sleep per night; Hispanics and Asians averaged 6.9 hours and blacks 6.8 hours. Sleep quality — defined as ease in falling asleep and length of uninterrupted sleep — was also higher for whites than for blacks. When adjusted for risk factors like cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea and obesity, blacks and members of other minorities, who are statistically more prone to experience such problems, still got less and more disruptive sleep than whites. In another study, white women were found to have the best sleep. Another study revealed that being divorced or widowed was particularly detrimental to the sleep of Hispanic men, while never being married was more likely to take a toll on the sleep of Asian men. Asian women lacking in education were more likely to report sleep problems than similarly educated white women. And men of all races who were in relationships slept better than single men, regardless of relationship quality; for women, the quality of the relationship was more likely to affect sleep. Black and Hispanic children in America are far less likely to have regularly enforced bedtimes than white children, according to a 2010 study. White children were also more likely to have “language-based” bedtime routines — those that involve reading or storytelling — both of which are associated with a wide range of cognitive and behavioral advantages.