According to two new studies, blacks receive less quality sleep than whites.
The studies presented at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies found that whites get more and better rest over any other racial group. Blacks were found to sleep shorter and experience restless sleep.
One of the studies conducted in Chicago found that whites average approximately 7.4 hours of sleep per night while Hispanics and Asians received an average of 6.9 hours of sleep. The study found that blacks received an average of 6.8 hours of sleep per night. In regards to sleep quality, the study examined the ease in which participants fell asleep as well as how long their sleep went uninterrupted. Results showed that whites still faired higher than blacks.
Researchers even considered socioeconomic factors when comparing sleep quality among racial groups. In a 2009 study, researchers took education, income, and employment status into consideration and still found that black men slept 82 minutes less than a white woman, who surpassed all racial groups.
Many researchers imply that the lack of sleep and its quality can be tied to prevalent health issues in the black community such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. They believe it is taking a toll on the community’s activity and performance.
“When people aren’t sleeping as well during the night, they aren’t as productive during the day, and they’re not as healthy,” said Dr. Mercedes R. Carnethon, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.”
Even through extensive research, study authors are finding it difficult to determine if sleep deprivation and its quality is linked to biological differences or the environment.
“We’re not at a point where we can say for certain is it nature versus nurture, is it race or is it socioeconomics,” said Dr. Michael A. Grandner, a research associate with the Center for Sleep and Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania. “There is a unique factor of race we’re still trying to understand.”
Researchers have agreed that an overall contributor can be stress.