The Five Social and Behavioral Predictors of Insomnia

Martin Reed | Jul 27th 2016

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It may seem as though insomnia strikes at random, but there are a number of predictors for sleeplessness. An American study recently identified five significant predictors of insufficient sleep.

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Predictor #1: Your job

Those working more than 40 hours per week were found to be 1.65 times more likely to suffer from insufficient sleep compared to those who worked fewer hours.

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Predictor #2: Your race

Black individuals were found to be 37 percent more likely to get less than seven hours of sleep each night compared to white individuals.

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Predictor #3: Your health

Lack of physical activity, smoking and heart disease also showed a significant relationship with insufficient sleep. In fact, those with a history of heart disease were 1.26 times more likely to experience sleep deprivation compared to those with healthy hearts.

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Predictor #4: Your family/friends

Those who provided care or assistance to a friend or family member within the previous month were found to be 1.5 times more likely to suffer from insufficient sleep.

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Predictor #5: Your support system

Individuals who felt they lacked social and emotional support were 24 percent more likely to be getting less than seven hours of sleep compared to those who felt they had a good support system.

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What doesn't seem to matter

Interestingly, the study found that marital status, drinking alcohol, income, diabetes, and a history of hypertension didn’t have a significant relationship with insufficient sleep.

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How to reduce insomnia risk

Although there are some things that can’t be changed (such as your race), taking action to improve your work/life balance and improving your health by quitting smoking, eating well, and getting enough exercise can go a long way when it comes to improving your sleep.

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It's not all doom and gloom

Finally, it’s worth noting that this study relied on self-reported sleep data and it classified sleep deprivation as all sleep durations of less than seven hours. Many adults can live perfectly healthy lives on just six hours of sleep each night.