To each ethnic group their sleep habit, study shows

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Most African-Americans like to pray just before they do it, white Americans like to do it with their pets, Asians tend to do it best and Hispanics fret about work just beforehand.

It is sleep and the 2010 Sleep in America poll released Monday by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) shows that sleep habits differ depending on what ethnic group you belong to.

African-Americans have the busiest bedtime routine: three-quarters said they watched television in the hour before going to bed, and only slightly fewer - 71 percent - said they prayed.

Only 18 percent of Asians, one third of whites and just under half of Hispanics said they prayed before going to bed.

One in 10 African-Americans and Hispanics said they had sex every night - which is 10 times more than Asians and 2.5 times more than whites.

Asians slept the best, according to the study, said to be the first to look at the ethnic differencs of sleep in the United States.

Eighty-five percent of Asians said they had a good night's sleep at least a few nights or more a week, and most of them did it without sleep-aids.

Only five percent of Asians said they used a sleep medication at least a few nights a week compared with 13 percent of whites, nine percent of blacks and eight percent of Hispanics.

Hispanics are the most likely to say they are kept awake by financial, employment, personal relationship or health-related concerns, the study shows.

Nearly four in 10 Hispanics (38 percent) and a third of African-Americans reported losing sleep a few nights a week over any of those concerns compared to about one-quarter of whites or Asians.

Around 20 percent of Hispanics and blacks said they lost sleep every night over economic, health or personal issues.

Whites, meanwhile, were the most likely to report sleeping with their pets: 14 percent of whites said they usually slept with Fido or Fluffy compared with just two percent of respondents from the other ethnic groups.

And Asians were the most likely to report sleeping in the same room with their children: 28 percent of Asians said they did compared to 22 percent of Hispanics, 15 percent of blacks and eight percent of whites.

"If you are having trouble sleeping, and you sleep with your spouse, your child, your pet or all three, remember that may be contributing to sleep disturbances that prevent you from getting a good night's sleep," said Sonia Ancoli-Israel, chair of the NSF task force that conducted the poll.

But while there are differences, there are also similarities in different ethnic groups' sleep habits.

For instance, all groups said they had missed work or family functions because they were just too pooped (19-24 percent), and among couples living together, all ethnic groups frequently reported being too tired for sex - around a quarter of the time.

The NSF surveyed 1,007 adults aged 25-60 for the annual poll.

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