A study being presented today at SLEEP 2009 in Seattle, Wash., examined sleep complaints in the U.S. Results show major differences based on marital status, income, employment and education.
The study examined CDC data involving 159,856 people. They were asked how often they had trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or sleeping too much. “Sleep disturbance” was defined as seven or more days of sleep problems over the last two weeks.
Results indicate that about 19 percent of Americans had disturbed sleep. What were the most important factors?
One was marital status. Almost 31 percent of people who were “separated” and 21 percent of people who had never been married had disturbed sleep; only about 16 percent of married people had trouble sleeping.
Another factor was income. About 26 percent of people who made less than $10,000 per year had disturbed sleep. This rate dropped as income increased; only about 8 percent of people making $75,000 or more had trouble sleeping.
There also were dramatic differences based on employment status. Almost 52 percent of people who were unable to work had disturbed sleep; nearly 32 percent of people who had been unemployed less than a year had trouble sleeping. Only about 16 percent of workers and 17 percent of retired people were sleep disturbed.
Trouble sleeping also decreased with education level. More than 27 percent of people who didn’t finish high school had disturbed sleep; this figure dropped to less than 14 percent for people with a college degree.
Race had less of an effect on sleep. Sleep disturbance occurred in about 19 percent of whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. But almost 27 percent of people who are multiracial reported having disturbed sleep.