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Sleep study finds ethnic differences

11-03-2010

A new US survey published this week has found a difference in sleep habits of people from different ethnic groups, as well as some marked similiarities. The National Sleep Foundation-led investigation surveyed over 1000 participants from white, black, Hispanic and Asian groups, looking at ethnicity for the first time in the annual study.

Black people were found to sleep the least on weeknights, with an average of 6 hours and 14 minutes, while white people managed the longest duration at an average of 6 hours and 52 minutes. The study found that pre-sleep habits varied significantly across the groups, with just 1% of Asians having an evening alcoholic drink compared to 7% of whites. White people, according to the results, most likely to sleep with their pets with 16%, compared to just 2% of black people doing the same.

In terms of similarities overall, a third of respondents across every ethnic group reported a general lack of sleep, and almost a quarter said that they had missed work or family commitments due to tiredness. Despite the significant levels of poor quality sleep, a massive 75% of respondents were fully aware of the knock-on health issues that it can cause.

“We found that all groups are sleep deprived,” said Meir Kryger MD, lead author of the study. “We didn’t know if our previous survey did justice to the fact there may be different cultural effects.”

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