Ever since I took this class called Psychobiology of Sleep and Dreams, which discusses many topics on sleep disorders, studies regarding sleep and the significance of their findings, and even a comparative analysis of sleep amongst many animal groups, I found an interest in reading on many scholarly articles and journals on sleep studies.
Most of you probably already know that sleep is important for health. Sleep deprivation can lead to memory loss, weakened immune system, weight gain. Driving behind the wheel while one is drowsy is just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Oversleeping is also not good because it could lead to diabetes, headaches, heart diseases, poor dietary habits, etc. I admit I am guilty of oversleeping sometimes, especially on the weekends to compensate for the lack of sleep during the week.
There have been studies done that compared the average sleep time of various ethnic groups and see how they varied. The first study was from State University of New York (SUNY) that examined 400,000 people who participated in the National Health Interview Surveys from 2004 to 2010. The researchers of State University of New York found that people born in the United States were more likely to sleep longer than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, while African-born Americans were more likely to sleep six hours or less, and Indian-born Americans were likely to report to sleep six to eight hours a night.
A second study was done at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and found out that white Americans slept significantly longer than other groups. And Asians have the highest report of daytime somnolence. Alright, so it is not just me that feel tired all the time and need one or two cups of coffee to stay awake throughout the day. Recently, I read an article from National Institute of Health on behavioral sleep medicine, and Song, Ancoli-Israel, Lewis, Redline, Harrison, & Stone (2010) did a study to measure sleep characteristics in older men of various racial groups and one of the results was that Asian and Black men slept less than Hispanics men.
These studies do show that we sleep less than other racial groups, but it is hard to pinpoint the causal relationship between sleep time and what factors affect sleep. Could it be that we are more likely to be tired during the day because we need to sleep as much as white participants but we do not sleep enought? Or is it because we eat too much rice and the elevated blood glucose levels is causing us to have food coma throughout the day?
[Photo used under Creative Common License via Smath.]