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Minority children get less sleep, study finds

Black children are less likely to get enough sleep than their white counterparts, which makes them susceptible to poorer school performance and behavioral problems, a study finds.
/ Source: Reuters

Black children are less likely to get enough sleep than their white counterparts, which makes them susceptible to poorer school performance and behavioral problems, a study said Monday.

The survey of 755 children found nearly half of 10- and 11-year-old minority boys -- most of whom were black -- got less than the nine hours of sleep a night recommended for the 8- to 11-year-old age group. Roughly one out of 10 minority boys got less than eight hours of sleep.

Many more black children than whites in the study went to bed later at night, with nearly one-third having bedtimes after 11 p.m., wrote study author James Spilsbury of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. On average, minority boys went to bed about a half-hour later than their nonminority counterparts but got up at about the same time -- 7:40 a.m.

The study did not specify a reason for the curtailed sleep, though it noted that minority boys in particular were “often subjected to a number of adverse socioeconomic influences” that might play a role.

Roughly one in eight elementary school children experience daytime sleepiness and about one in five are fatigued during the school day, the report published in The Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine said.

Sleepiness can impair classroom performance and lead to aggressive behavior, it said. Also, younger children who do not get enough sleep often go on to become sleep-deprived adolescents and adults.