Wealthy People Sleep Longer than Poor People: CDC
Tue, April 20, 2021

Wealthy People Sleep Longer than Poor People: CDC


The differences between the rich and the poor are not only observed in their incomes and mindset but also in their sleep.  In a study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that rich people sleep longer at night on average compared to poor people. It was based on a survey of people between 2011 to 2014, where the CDC analyzes about their sleep habits.

The rich getting a full night’s rest

A total of 140,000 adults filled out and returned the survey forms. The result shows that 55% who reported living near or at the poverty line sleep about seven to eight hours per night. On the other hand, 66.6% of participants living 400% above the poverty line reported usually getting a full night’s sleep. In the United States, the poverty line differs by income compared to the family line. For instance, it falls at $11,670 annually for a single person while the poverty line for a family of four is $23,850.



Number of hours working and number of jobs as factors

CDC, however, did not delve deeper find out why wealthy people sleep more than poor people but some of those in the sleep industry suggested that the findings are linked to the number of jobs people have or the number of hours they have to work to earn a living. Sleep physician Dr. Neil Kline, for instance, told CNN that people with more resources can afford homes with better sound-proofing and in less people-density. They can also afford healthcare relating to sleep disorders if they have one.

Others in the sleep industry commented that wealthy people likewise have more help with daily matters, such as childcare, cleaning, cooking, and taking care of themselves. Not to mention that they tend to stay in places that are more receptive to relaxation, such as private comfortable beds and quiet neighborhoods.

The study did not also look into the impact of chronic sleep deprivation on those living in sometimes dangerous situations or the impact of sleep differences between rich and poor on the country.

Dr. Neil Kline, who is from the American Sleep Association, said that too often, we prioritize social events and work over our sleep. So, when we don’t get adequate sleep, we increase the risk of poor health outcomes and we do not function at our peak performance.

CDC’s epidemiologist Lindsey Black also explained that the study did not address the negative effects of not getting enough sleep although there has been other research that shows multiple negative effects from sleeping too little. There are many aspects of people’s well-being and quality of life that are affected by sleep. For example, poor quality sleep has been linked with increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, driving accidents, and mental health issues, such as depression.

The importance of sleep schedule

Based on ASA’s recommendation, adults can get better quality sleep by making a sleep schedule. Not going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day can increase a person’s risk of metabolic disorders. Another suggestion is to exercise. A simple bodily activity can help a person sleep better, which consequently gives them more energy during the day to do activities. It’s basically a cycle.

The last tip from ASA is for people to avoid naps whenever possible. While short naps don’t generally affect nighttime quality for most people, it can worsen the problem of people who experience poor sleep quality or insomnia at night. Everyone has a certain number of hours they need to sleep. Naps can only make it harder for one to fall asleep at night, leading to sleep deprivation and insomnia, in the long term.



Time spent sleeping, per day

Scientific online publication Our World in Data shares the amount of time that Europeans sleep. The female population in Germany age 20-74 spent an average of 499 minutes per day while the male population spends an average of 491.66 per day. Other European countries mentioned are Norway (women: 489.66 minutes per day, men: 477 minutes per day), Sweden (491.34 minutes, 481 minutes), Belgium (509 minutes, 495 minutes), and United Kingdom (506.65 minutes, 498.69 minutes). Estimates come from time-use surveys and comprise one weekend and one weekday distributed over the year.



Best and worst countries for average sleeping

Data from the sleep tracker app Sleep Cycle has also shown that no country in the world nowadays manages to achieve the 8 hours of sleep on a daily basis. This is worrying as the recommended range for adults is 7 to 9 hours per night. Countries with the worst sleep quality include Japan (5 hours and 59 minutes average hours of sleep per night), Saudi Arabia (6 hours and 8 minutes), Sweden (6 hours and 10 minutes), India (6 hours and 20 minutes), and the Philippines (6 hours and 22 minutes). It is obvious these countries have an exceedingly high sleep debt as they are sleeping below their sleep needs.

Sleep Cycle also provided the five countries that achieve the best sleep quality. This includes New Zealand (7 hours and 30 minutes), The Netherlands (7 hours and 28 minutes), Finland (7 hours and 26 minutes), Great Britain (7 hours and 24 minutes), and Ireland (7 hours and 22 minutes). Those that go to bed early are people in South Africa (23:04 on average), New Zealand (23:10), and Guatemala (23:16). For comparative purposes, countries that go to bed late are Egypt (02:00), Saudi Arabia (01:50), and Turkey (01:15).

Clinical psychologist Dr. Michael J. Breus, who is popularly known as “The Sleep Doctor,” it would help a person sleep better if they know their bedtime and stick to that one sleep schedule every day. When the biological clock is in sync, all of your other bodily functions will also go smoother. He also advised avoiding drinking alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime. Although alcohol can make a person sleepy, it keeps the body from reaching the deep stages of sleep. Getting outside in the sun for 15 minutes every morning will also help regulate the production of the sleep hormone.

Populations will be at greater risk for mental health disorders and chronic diseases or challenges to relationships and daily life if sleep deprivation will not be addressed. These consequences are both expensive and dangerous.