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New Research Highlights Association Between Experiencing Discrimination and Poorer Sleep

Sleep Health Journal Article Highlights Association Between Experiencing Discrimination and Poorer Sleep


Washington, D.C. (July 25, 2023): New research published in the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) Sleep Health journal shows experiencing discrimination is associated with poorer sleep. Discrimination is associated with higher anxiety and lower social well-being which are associated with poorer sleep.

A Longitudinal Examination of Psychosocial Mechanisms Linking Discrimination with Objective and Subjective Sleep (Dautovich, Reid, Ghose, Kim, Tighe, Shoji and Kliewer) analyzed longitudinal data from nearly 1,000 adults across the adult lifespan.

Findings showed that discrimination was associated with a broad array of sleep outcomes across a 10-year period. Anxiety and social well-being were linked to reports of experiencing discrimination and negative sleep outcomes.

“Our findings highlight the unfortunate durability of the association between discrimination and sleep, a critical pillar of well-being. These effects were heightened in those experiencing chronic or an increasing frequency of discrimination. Feeling socially disconnected or anxious, in association with experiences of discrimination, predicted worse sleep” explained Natalie Dautovich, PhD, the primary author on this work, and Environmental Fellow at National Sleep Foundation.

“The National Sleep Foundation is committed to sleep health equity. These investigators added to the body of evidence linking discrimination with sleep health, specifically identifying connections between perceived discrimination and both subjective and objective sleep characteristics—over a ten-year span. Their findings are an important reminder that sleep is very much influenced by the social world in which we live.” said NSF Vice President of Research and Scientific Affairs, Joseph Dzierzewski, PhD.

Read the NSF’s Position Statement on Sleep Health Equity. Register to attend an NSF-hosted Congressional Briefing Webinar on sleep health equity here. For more information about sleep health, visit


About the National Sleep Foundation
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy. Founded in 1990, the NSF is committed to advancing excellence in sleep health theory, research and practice.

About Sleep Health®: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation
The landmark, award-winning, peer-reviewed journal Sleep Health publishes the latest studies on the cross-section of sleep’s role in population health and the social sciences from global, multidisciplinary perspectives.

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Stephanie Kohn