Foreign Born Americans Sleep Better Than Natives

You might think that where you’re born or where your family comes from has no impact on how well you sleep, but according to two new studies you’d be wrong.

The first research, conducted at the State University of New York (SUNY) looked at 400,000 respondents from the National Health Interview Surveys between 2004 and 2010. Results show that Americans born in the United States were more likely to report sleeping longer than the recommended seven to nine hours each night. African-born Americans were more likely to report sleeping six hours or less, and Indian-born Americans reported six to eight hours a night.

“We think social desirability might be playing a role in the self-reported data,” said Abhishek Pandey, MD, the study’s lead author. “We think that insufficient sleep might be more prevalent in the population than the actual self report data, but under- or over-reported to project a better image of one’s perceived sleep health.”

On a smaller scale, sleep researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago analyzed the sleep measurements of 439 randomly selected Chicago men and women, including surveys about sleep quality and daytime sleepiness. They found that white participants slept significantly longer than the other groups, and blacks reported the worst sleep quality. Asians had the highest reports of daytime sleepiness.

“These racial/ethnic differences in sleep persisted even following statistical adjustment for cardiovascular disease risk factors that we already know to be associated with poor sleep, such as body mass index, high blood pressure and diabetes,” said Mercedes Carnethon, PhD, principal investigator and lead author of the Northwestern study.

Both studies were presented at the recent SLEEP 2012 conference, organized by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.

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