Sleep, Income, and Race

One of those things that affects all facets of health–and yet is woefully underemphasized in popular culture–is sleep. But don’t trust me, listen to the CDC:

To promote optimal health and well-being, adults aged 18–60 years are recommended to sleep at least 7 hours each night. Sleeping <7 hours per night is associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, frequent mental distress, and all-cause mortality. Insufficient sleep impairs cognitive performance, which can increase the likelihood of motor vehicle and other transportation accidents, industrial accidents, medical errors, and loss of work productivity that could affect the wider community.

Researchers asked people how many hours of sleep per night they got, and defined healthy sleep as seven or more hours of sleep per night. Here’s how things broke down by various demographic groups (adjusted for age):


Two things to note. First, blacks, compared to most other groups, are experiencing a significant ‘sleep deficit.’ At the other extreme, college-graduates are far more likely to get sufficient sleep than other educational groups.

As the report states rather dryly, “The results also suggest that employment and higher education might be determinants of healthy sleep.” Of course, if you have to work two jobs to make ends meet, have inadequate transportation so it takes longer for you to go anywhere, and, in general, have to substitute time for money, sleep becomes expendable. Which is not good for your health.

For some reason, I doubt business leaders are going to be leading the charge on this one though, even as some executives insist on wellness incentives–that never seem to include sleep initiatives. I wonder why…

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2 Responses to Sleep, Income, and Race

  1. A measure based on income & assets would probably make for a sharper distinction yet.

  2. jrkrideau says:

    wellness incentives–that never seem to include sleep initiatives.

    Plenty more minimum wage slaves available?

    I suspect that business leaders do not realise what it costs them to have sleep – deprived workers. Mistakes–sometimes costly , poor performance due to fatigue, absenteeism, poor morale affecting customer service, and so on.

    I was just reading that article on the Metro subway and its Red Signal Violations. I wonder what the sleep profile is for train operators?

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