Natasha T. Giddens, M.D., from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues compared total sleep time using a week of actigraphy data among 4,207 American children aged 9 to 13 years of different racial/ethnic and income groups. The effects of neighborhood deprivation, experience of discrimination, parents’ age at child’s birth, body mass index (BMI), and time the child fell asleep on sleep times were examined.
The researchers found that for the sample, the daily total sleep time was 7.45 hours; significant predictors of total sleep time included race/ethnicity, income, sex, age, and BMI. Less sleep was reported among Black versus White children (~34 minutes), children from lower- versus high-income families (~16 minutes), boys versus girls (~7 minutes), and older versus younger children (~32 minutes); this was mostly due to later sleep times. Shorter sleep times were also seen for children with higher BMI. There were no contributions to sleep time for area deprivation index, experience of discrimination, or parents’ age at child’s birth.
“Here we document significantly shorter sleep times among children from underrepresented groups and among children from low-income families, highlighting the emergence of disparities very early in life that are likely to contribute if not corrected to worse health outcomes in adulthood,” the authors write.