African-Americans and other racial minorities have sleep durations associated with increased mortality. This is consistent with the belief that unhealthy sleep patterns among minorities—long sleep or short sleep—may contribute to health differentials, according to a study published in the September 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.
The study, authored by Lauren Hale, PhD, assistant professor in the graduate program in public health at Stony Brook University, focused on the responses of 32,749 people 18 years of age and older to a National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).
According to the results, African-American respondents had an increased risk of being short and long sleepers (less than or equal to six hours and greater than or equal to nine hours, respectively) relative to Caucasian respondents. Hispanics, excluding Mexican-Americans, and non-Hispanic “others” were also associated with increased risk of short sleeping.
The study also found that living in an inner city was associated with increased risk of short sleeping and reduced risk of long sleeping, compared to non-urban areas. Some of the higher risk of short sleeping among African-Americans can be explained by a higher prevalence of African-Americans’ habitation in the inner city.