Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Sleep Outcomes Among Urban Children with and Without Asthma


Suboptimal sleep has been documented in at-risk groups such as urban minority children, particularly those with asthma. It is therefore critical to examine differences in sleep outcomes across specific racial and ethnic groups and to identify factors that contribute to such variations in sleep outcomes to inform tailored interventions to improve sleep health.


The objectives were to examine racial/ethnic differences in sleep outcomes among urban children with and without asthma and to evaluate the extent to which asthma status and aspects of sleep hygiene and the sleep environment contribute to racial/ethnic differences in sleep outcomes in this sample.


Two hundred and sixteen African American, Latino, or non-Latino white (NLW) urban children, ages 7-9 years, with (n = 216) and without asthma (n = 130) and their primary caregivers were included. Objective sleep duration and efficiency were assessed via actigraphy. Asthma status was assessed by a study clinician. Caregiver-reported sleep hygiene and exposure to noise were assessed using a questionnaire.


Minority children in the sample had, on average, shorter sleep duration compared to NLW children during the monitoring period (mean difference Latino vs NLW = -22.10, SE = 5.02; mean difference AA vs NLW = -18.69, SE = 5.28) Additionally, several racial/ethnic group differences in sleep outcomes emerged and were dependent on whether or not children had asthma. Specifically, Latinos had lower mean number of awakenings compared to NLWs but only among control participants with no asthma. Furthermore, specific aspects of sleep hygiene and exposure to nighttime noise in the home and neighborhood contributed to racial/ethnic differences in sleep outcomes.


Considering urban stressors and asthma status when treating pediatric populations is important, as factors related to urban stress and asthma management may influence sleep hygiene practices and sleep outcomes.