Who gets the best sleep? Ethnic and socioeconomic factors related to sleep complaints

Michael A. Grandner, Nirav P. Patel, Philip R. Gehrman, Dawei Xie, Daohang Sha, Terri Weaver, Nalaka Gooneratne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

323 Scopus citations


Objectives: Lower socioeconomic status is associated with short or long sleep duration and sleep disturbance (e.g., sleep apnea), which are all related to increased mortality risk. General sleep complaints, however, which may better approximate symptoms as they are experienced, have not been examined in a large population sample. Methods: Sample consisted of n=159,856 participants from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, representing 36 states/regions across the US. Sleep complaints were measured with a telephone survey item that assessed " trouble falling asleep," " staying asleep" or " sleeping too much." Data analysis utilized hierarchical logistic regression and Rao-Schott χ2. Results: Asian respondents reported the least complaints, and Hispanic/Latino and Black/African-American individuals reported fewer complaints than Whites. Lower income and educational attainment was associated with more sleep complaints. Employment was associated with less sleep complaints and unemployment with more. Married individuals reported the least sleep complaints. Significant interactions with race/ethnicity indicate that the relationship between sleep complaints and marital status, income and employment differs among groups for men, and the relationship with education differs among groups for women. Conclusions: Rates of sleep complaints in African-American, Hispanic/Latino and Asian/Other groups were similar to Whites. Lower socioeconomic status was associated with higher rates of sleep complaint.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-478
Number of pages9
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Ethnicity
  • Population
  • Sleep
  • Sleep quality
  • Socioeconomic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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