Disparities in Adolescent Sleep Health by Sex and Ethnoracial Group

SSM Popul Health. 2020 Apr 9;11:100581. doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2020.100581. eCollection 2020 Aug.


Improving adolescent sleep health is a national priority for ameliorating health and wellbeing (Healthy People 2020), as the majority of adolescents do not get the minimum recommended amount of 8 h of sleep per night. Prior research has identified sex and ethnoracial disparities in adolescent sleep but has been limited by data availability. National studies have collected reported sleep data, while objective sleep data has been available in community samples only. Using new data from adolescents in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a population-based birth cohort study of children born 1998-2000, we are able to characterize sex and ethnoracial disparities in sleep health in the first national sample of actigraphy-assessed sleep health among adolescents. In cross-sectional analyses, we used linear and logistic regression models to assess sex and ethnoracial disparities in weekday sleep duration, timing, and quality measured using actigraphy collected from 738 adolescents at approximately age 15. We identified sex and ethnoracial group differences in weekday and weekend adolescent sleep duration, with larger disparities on weekends than weekdays. Male adolescents had 27-min shorter nightly sleep durations than females on weeknights. Non-Hispanic black adolescents had 32-min shorter nightly sleep durations than non-Hispanic whites on weekdays and 41-min shorter nightly sleep durations on weekends. While sex disparities persisted after accounting for naps, black-white differences were attenuated by napping such that there was no statistically significant black-white disparity in 24-h sleep on either weekdays or weekends. We did not identify disparities in sleep timing or quality. Future research should investigate the pathways through which these disparities arise, including behavioral and contextual mechanisms.

Keywords: Actigraphy; Adolescents; Disparities; Ethnoracial group; Sex; Sleep health.