SLEEP Is Racist Now, Scientists Assure America

Font Size:

Scientists have determined that sleep is the latest thing to be racist.

News of the development comes from National Journal in a lengthy article that debuted late last week.

The article, which manages to reach nearly 6,000 words, cites several studies, including one conducted at the University of California, San Diego. For the five-year study, researchers hooked 164 human subjects up to a polysomnography machine (which features a brain scanner, eye trackers, breathing sensors and much else). They found that black participants and white participants experienced sleep differently. In a nutshell, the white study subjects achieved slow-wave sleep — which is the really good kind — about 20 percent of the time. Black subjects only reached this quality level 15 percent of the time.

A study published in June in an academic journal called SLEEP also concluded that white people, black people, Chinese people and Hispanic people sleep differently.

University of Maryland, Baltimore psychologist Danielle L. Beatty Moody suggested that the sleep problems black people experience at night can be attributed to all the racism they encounter during the day.

“It’s uncomfortable for them to sleep because they are thinking back over mistreatment, thinking back over mal­treat­ment, think­ing back over bias they experienced,” Beatty Moody told National Journal. “In thinking about those experiences, they are getting more aroused, more cognitive arousal, which does the opposite of what you need it to do to go to sleep.”

Stony Brook University preventive medicine professor Lauren Hale suggested that poverty is the main issue. She said black people tend to suffer more sleep-related problems because they tend to live in poor areas.

“I have never seen a study that hasn’t shown a direct association between neighborhood quality and sleep quality,” Hale told National Journal.

“If you know somebody in your neighborhood who has had a break-in, you might feel pretty uncomfortable shut­ting your eyes falling asleep while your two or three children are sleeping in the room next door and no one else is there to pro­tect them,” she added.

University of Chicago epidemiologist Diane Lauderdale noted that rich black people sleep better, but still not as well overall as white people do.

“The race gap is decreased if you take into account some indicator of economics,” Lauderdale told the Washington, D.C.-based digital media company.

It’s a “tragic spiral,” National Journal explains. Less sleep is a symptom of poor health which affects black communities and poor health leads to even more poor health among black people.

Sleep apnea also affects black people at a higher rate. According to one study, 12.8 percent of black participants suffered from sleep apnea compared to 7.4 percent of white people.

“Untreated sleep apnea leads to cardiovascular disease if not death,” “charismatic Haitian-born psychologist” Girardin Jean-Louis told National Journal. “There are many times we go, we give talks in churches, and we hear stories of people who died, and we always say to ourselves, ‘You know, I think that was un­treated sleep apnea.'”

The assertion that sleep is racist comes in an addition to the long and ever-growing list of racist things in every nook and cranny of American life including coconut bras, golf jokes about Barack Obama, hump day, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and, of course, “Thomas and Friends.” (RELATED: The Daily Caller’s ALL-STAR GREATEST HITS Alphabet Of Racism)

Follow Eric on TwitterLike Eric on Facebook. Send story tips to