Program identifies sleep disparities among minorities

A newly formed program at the University of Miami has found in data that Blacks sleep less than whites.

MIAMI, Fla. – Research is underway into differences in race and sleep patterns.

Dr. Girardin Jean-Louis oversees the newly formed UHealth Translational Sleep and Circadian Sciences program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

He said laboratory data has shown that Blacks are most likely to sleep less than whites, losing an average of 30 minutes a day.

”We’re also learning that Blacks have for instance reduced light levels during the day, and increased light levels at night which is not good, Jean-Louis said.

“There was a study that came out a couple of weeks ago that even lamp light levels can in fact dysregulate insulin levels so this may be why we have such a high prevalence of diabetes among Blacks because the light levels are not being controlled properly. That’s what we’re doing in this lab, better understanding the relationship between light levels and circadian dysregulation,” he said.

Jean-Louis believes that by better managing sleep and circadian rhythms, clinicians can treat a wide range of chronic diseases at once.

And while data shows depression is most common among young adults between the ages of 18 to 25, a recent study revealed why this age group is not seeking mental health care.

The study, using information from the National Survey On Drug Use and Health, found that the most reported reasons for not seeking treatment were cost, not knowing where to go, thinking they could handle the problem on their own, and fear of being committed to a medical facility or having to take medicine.

Researchers said the findings highlight the need for outreach campaigns to increase awareness of local mental health services.

About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.