Socioeconomic status, gender and marital status influence sleep disturbances

June 10, 2009

According to new research, increased sleep disturbances are associated with lower education, income or being unmarried or unemployed. Disturbances are much more likely in multiracial individuals.

Results indicate that individuals with higher socioeconomic status and education levels sleep better than those of lower socioeconomic status. The study also found that gender, younger age and being single negatively affect sleep. Women reported more sleep problems than men (22 percent versus 16 percent), especially between the ages of 40 and 65 years. Finally, more sleep problems were reported in people between the ages of 18 and 24 years than older people.

Lead author Michael Grandner, PhD, postdoctoral fellow with the center for sleep and respiratory neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia stated that both internal and external factors may cause individuals with low socioeconomic status to experience more .

"Lower socioeconomic status is associated with a number of internal factors that can cause poor sleep, including illness, fewer support systems, depression, anxiety, dissatisfaction, lower quality of life, and less motivation to see sleep as a priority," said Grandner. "A number of external factors also may negatively affect sleep as well, such as demanding work schedules, rotating shifts, family demands, limited access to healthcare, and unemployment."

The study involved information from 159,856 individuals who provided complete data from the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Demographic and socioeconomic information was collected and sleep disturbances were measured subjectively.

Findings show that 26 percent of individuals earning less than $10,000 a year reported sleep problems, whereas only 8 percent of those earning $75,000 or more annually reported sleep problems. Participants who had college degrees slept better than those who did not finish high school. People who were employed reported the best sleep, followed by those who were retired, homemakers and students. Of the individuals who were unemployed for less than a year, 32 percent reported sleeping problems; 52 percent of people who were unable to work due to injury, illness or disabilities reported . Married people slept better than single individuals; those who were separated had the worst sleep.

Source: American Academy of Medicine (news : web)

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