Sleep Disparity, Race/Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Position
Sleep represents a set of biological functions necessary for the maintenance of life. Performing these functions, though, requires that an individual engage in behaviors, which are affected by social and environmental factors. Race/ethnicity and socioeconomic position represent categories of factors that likely play a role in the experience of sleep in the community. Previous studies have suggested that racial/ethnic minorities and the socioeconomically disadvantaged may be more likely to experience sleep patterns that are associated with adverse health outcomes. It is possible that disparities in sleep represent a pathway by which larger disparities in health emerge. This review (1) contextualizes the concept of race/ethnicity in biomedical research, (2) summarizes previous studies that describe patterns of sleep attainment across race/ethnicity groups, (3) discusses several pathways by which race/ethnicity may be associated with sleep, (4) introduces the potential role of socioeconomic position in the patterning of sleep, and (5) proposes future research directions to address this issue.
18 Sleep Med. 7 (2016)