African-Americans Report the Busiest Bedtime Routines
The 2010 Sleep in America poll released by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) revealed several differences in the sleep habits and attitudes of Asians, Blacks/African-Americans, Hispanics and Whites. The poll results found that Blacks/African-Americans are the most likely to report performing activities in the hour before going to bed every night or almost every night, specifically watching TV (75%) and/or praying or doing another religious practice (71%). Whether on weekdays/workdays or non-workdays/weekends, Blacks/African-Americans spend much more time in bed without sleeping than the other ethnic groups (54 minutes on weekdays/workdays and 71 minutes on non-workdays/weekends).
- Blacks/African-Americans (17%) and Asians (16%) are more likely than Whites (9%) and Hispanics (13%) to report doing job-related work in the hour before bed, among those employed.
- Blacks/African-Americans report losing sleep every night over personal financial concerns (12%) and employment concerns (10%) at a higher rate than Whites (6% and 7%) or Asians (1% and 4%). Hispanics are almost equally concerned each night about these two issues (11% and 9%, respectively).
"The hour before bed is an important time to relax and wind-down before going to sleep," says Thomas J. Balkin, Ph.D., Chairman of the National Sleep Foundation. "For those who are having problems sleeping, it's a good idea to consider whether your bedtime routines may be too alerting."
The National Sleep Foundation suggests the following to improve your sleep:
- Go to sleep and wake at the same time every day, and avoid spending more time in bed than needed.
- Use bright light to help manage your "body clock.” Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning.
- Use your bedroom only for sleep to strengthen the association between your bed and sleep. It may help to remove work materials, computers and televisions from your bedroom.