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More U.S. Blacks Report Sleeping Too Much or Too Little

Living in inner-city environments also associated with sleep pattern problems

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks are more likely than whites to have health-threatening sleep patterns, as are those who live in inner-city environments as opposed to non-urban areas, researchers report in the Sept. 1 issue of Sleep.

Lauren Hale, Ph.D., of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a colleague analyzed 1990 data from the National Health Interview Survey, which asked respondents about their sleep patterns. Of the 32,749 people aged 18 and over included in the study sample, 79 percent were classified as non-Hispanic white, 10.1 percent non-Hispanic black, 4.1 percent Mexican American, 3.5 percent other Hispanic, and 3.3 percent as other non-Hispanic.

About one-quarter of the sample reported sleeping six or fewer hours a night (defined as the "short duration" category) and 10 percent reported sleeping nine or more hours ("long duration"). Black respondents were the most likely to fall into both categories (30.8 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively) while whites were least likely (23.5 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively). Those who lived in central city environments of more than a million people were most likely to fall into the short sleep duration pattern, which may have explained some of the racial gap.

"This information can assist public health and health care professionals in identifying segments of the population that are at higher risk for sleep or sleep-related disorders," the authors conclude.

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