Annual sleep poll uncovers ethnic sleep differences

Thursday, March 18, 2010

CROFTON, M.D. - When it comes to sleep, there are significant differences among ethnic groups, according to the National Sleep Foundation's (NSF) "2010 Sleep in America Poll."

It is the first time the poll has examined sleep attitudes and habits among Asians, Blacks/African-Americans, Hispanics and Whites, said the NSF in a release.

The poll found that Blacks/African-Americans have the busiest bedtime routines and get the least amount of sleep; Asians get the best sleep and have the fewest sleep problems; Hispanics are most likely to be kept awake by financial and personal worries; and whites are the most likely to sleep with their pets.

Bedtime routines

Blacks/African-Americans are the most likely to perform 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%).

Sleep quality

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).

Lying awake

One-third of Hispanics (38%) and Blacks/African-Americans (33%) report that their sleep is disturbed by worries over finances, work, health and other concerns at least a few nights a week, compared to about one-fourth of Whites (28%) and/or Asians (25%).

Bed sharing

Among those married or partnered, Whites are more likely (14%) than the other ethnic groups (2% each) to say they usually sleep with a pet.

Among those married or partnered, 90% of Whites report that they sleep with their significant other compared to 84% of Blacks/African-Americans, 76% of Hispanics and 67% of Asians.

Among all respondents, Whites are the least likely to say they sleep alone (21% versus 41% Blacks/African-Americans, 37% Asians and 31% Hispanics.)

Among married/partnered poll respondents, Asians (28%) are the most likely to sleep with children and Whites (8%) are the least likely.

Overall, nearly three-fourths of respondents agree that poor sleep can contribute to health problems.

The poll also shows that all ethnic groups report missing work or family functions because they were too sleepy (19%-24%). Among married people or couples living together, all ethnic groups report being too tired for sex frequently (21%-26% of the time).

To read the poll in its entirety: