Poll Reveals Sleep Differences among Ethnic Groups

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Date:
Monday, March 8, 2010

with their pets and/or their significant other/spouse.
Among those married or partnered, Whites are much 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.
  • Interestingly, 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 those married or partnered respondents with children, Asians (28%) and Hispanics (22%) are the most likely to report that they sleep in the same room with their children (compared to 15% of Blacks/African-Americans and 8% of Whites).*

"Other studies support the findings that co-sleeping with children is prevalent with Asians," says Sonia Ancoli-Israel, Ph.D., chair of the National Sleep Foundation's Sleep in America Poll Task Force. "If you are having trouble sleeping, and you sleep with your spouse, your child, your pet or all three, remember that may be contributing to sleep disturbances that prevent you from getting a good night's sleep."

*Bed sharing/co-sleeping is a complex and controversial practice. This study did not specifically examine the issue of sleeping with infants, nor does the National Sleep Foundation wish to have these results misconstrued to suggest a position on the practice. Parental counseling about infant sleep environments is strongly suggested.

Sleep disorder diagnosis is uneven among the four ethnic groups.
The 2010 poll found that sleep disorders continue to be very common among the adults surveyed, with specific disorders occurring at different frequency among the four groups.

  • Whites report the highest rate of diagnosis for insomnia (10%), and Blacks/African-Americans have the highest rate of diagnosed sleep apnea (14%) among the four groups.
  • Among those experiencing sleep problems, Whites are the most likely to report using over-the-counter sleep aids at least a few nights a week (7%). Blacks/African-Americans are almost twice as likely to report taking medications prescribed by a doctor (7%) rather than over-the-counter sleep aids (3%). Asians are the least likely to report using