Racial Differences in Sleep Patterns Impact Overall Racial Health Disparities

A new study by researchers at Auburn University in Alabama, Northwestern University in Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison finds that a lack of sleep is a major contributing factor in higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes among African Americans compared to White Americans.

Researchers examined the sleep patterns of more than 400 adults over a period of  week. The results showed that Black Americans experienced less total sleep and lower sleep efficiency than White Americans. The authors stated that differences in sleeping patterns accounted for more than one-half of the racial differences in cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk.

Thomas Fuller-Rowell, an associate professor in the department of human development and family studies at Auburn University and a co-author of the study, stated that “sleep is a malleable health behavior that is linked with characteristics of the social and physical environment and could be an effective target in national efforts to reduce racial health disparities.”

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  1. It doesn’t help that those who work the overnight shifts are disproportionately African-Americans. There is a study that says that those who spend 10 years working overnight shifts correlates to memory loss, which is an early onset of progressive aging.

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