Sleep differences among Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics and whites

The 2010 Sleep in America poll released by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reveals significant differences in the sleep habits and attitudes of Asians, Blacks/African-Americans, Hispanics and Whites.

It is the first poll to examine sleep among these four ethnic groups.

NSF’s Sleep in America poll found that more than three-fourths of respondents from each ethnic group agree that poor sleep is associated with health problems (76-83%). These new findings echo lessons learned by former President Bill Clinton who recently admitted that he has adopted a new lifestyle regimen to sleep seven or more hours on the advice of his doctors.

Blacks/African-Americans report the busiest bedtime routines.

Blacks/African-Americans are the most likely to report performing activities in the hour before going to bed every night or almost every night, specifically watching TV (75%) and/or praying or doing another religious practice (71%). Whether on weekdays/workdays or non-workdays/weekends, Blacks/African-Americans spend much more time in bed without sleeping than the other ethnic groups (54 minutes on weekdays/workdays and 71 minutes on non-workdays/weekends).

Asians report getting the best sleep, report the least amount of sleep problems and infrequent use of sleep aids.

Asians are the most likely ethnic group (84%) to say that they had a good night’s sleep at least a few nights or more a week. In addition, Asians are about half as likely (14%) to discuss their sleep issues with a healthcare professional, and are half as likely (10%) to report having been diagnosed with a sleep disorder. Asians are the least likely to report using sleep medication at least a few nights a week (5% versus 13% Whites, 9% Blacks/African-Americans and 8% Hispanics).

Hispanics are the most likely to say they are kept awake by financial, employment, personal relationship and/or health-related concerns.

Overall, at least one-third of Hispanics (38%) and Blacks/African-Americans (33%) report that any of these concerns disturb their sleep at least a few nights a week, compared to about one-fourth of Whites (28%) and/or Asians (25%).

Whites are the most likely to report sleeping with their pets and/or their significant other/spouse. Among those married or partnered, Whites are much more likely (14%) than the other ethnic groups (2% each) to say they usually sleep with a pet.

Sleep disorder diagnosis is uneven among the four ethnic groups. The 2010 poll found that sleep disorders continue to be very common among the adults surveyed, with specific disorders occurring at different frequency among the four groups.

“We are making progress with physicians and patients discussing sleep issues in regular office visits,” says Cloud. “But we still have a lot of work to do to make sleep a routine part of every physician-patient interaction.”

Sleep is a vital sign for overall health, therefore, discussing sleep problems should be an important part of health check ups for doctors and patients, especially since sleep disorders can affect many other medical conditions.

Source: National Sleep Foundation, USA

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