A new study led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health finds that sleep apnea, insomnia, snoring, and other sleep difficulties can lead to a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and other health complications. And the study found that sleep problems are more prevalent among African Americans than among Whites. Thus, sleep problems may be a significant contributor to racial health disparities in the United States.
In a study of more than 2,200 individuals ages 54 to 93, more than one third were found to have sleep-related breathing disorders and 31 percent had short sleep duration of less than six hours per night. The results showed that Blacks were most likely to have short sleep duration of less than six hours, and they were more likely than Whites to have sleep apnea syndrome, poor sleep quality, and daytime sleepiness.
The article, “Racial/Ethnic Differences in Sleep Disturbances: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis,” was published in the June 2015 issue of the journal Sleep, a publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It may be accessed here.