Every Shut-Eye, Ain't Sleep

The Role of Racism-Related Vigilance in Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Sleep Difficulty
An older man asleep on a bed.

Racism-related vigilance is an important determinant of racial disparities in sleep quality.

The Issue:
Racial and ethnic disparities in health are widely studied, but determinants of these disparities are not well understood. This study explores the relationship between racism-related vigilance and sleep difficulty among Black, Hispanic, and White adults.

Key Findings

  • Blacks reported greater levels of racism-related vigilance.

  • Blacks reported greater levels of sleep difficulty as compared to Whites.

  • Hispanics showed a smaller, but nonsignificant association, while Whites showed no association.

Conclusion:
This study suggests that vigilance may be a source of chronic stress contributing to higher prevalence of sleep difficulty among Blacks. The findings indicate that the anticipation of and preservation about racial discrimination impacts racial disparities in health.

This study was limited to a single city and was cross-sectional; further research will require a more robust sample.

About the Study:
The Chicago Community Adult Health Study, a cross-sectional, population-representative survey of adults living in Chicago was used. Face-to-face interviews and direct physical measurements were collected from May 2001 to March 2003 from a sample of 3,105 adults.