Well-off and white people get more sleep than nonrich and nonwhite people, according to a recent University of Chicago study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The study didn’t address the reasons why--its main finding was that people in general sleep less than they think--but Diane Lauderdale, an associate professor of health studies, speculated that people who make more money may have fewer worries or more control over their sleep environment. That bored one blogger, who wrote, “I can't believe money--taxpayer money, probably--was spent on a study like this. Is it just me or does this seem like a no-brainer?”
She missed the odd part. The study also found that, on average, women sleep more than men. Scorecard: white women 6.7 hours, white men 6.1, black women 5.9, black men 5.1.
If privileges like wealth and whiteness confer the additional privilege of more sleep, what happens to the privilege of maleness when we hit the sack? Or, in Chicago terms, where’s mine?
Sociologist Eric Klinenberg uncovered a similar oddity in his 2002 book Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago. Short version from my Reader review (July 26, 2002):
“Not all of the vulnerable people are the usual suspects, and not all of the usual suspects are vulnerable. Yes, blacks died half again as often as whites [during Chicago’s 1995 killer heat wave]. But Latinos--comparably poor and downtrodden--died much less often than either . . . . Most surprisingly, men died at almost three times the rate of women--19 men per 100,000, compared to just 7 women per 100,000. This is a dramatically greater difference than that between racial and ethnic groups . . . .
“According to the usual left-liberal analysis, the victims of incipient social breakdown are supposed to be women and people of color, not just men and blacks. The heat wave does indeed reveal some social faultlines, but not quite the ones you might expect.”
Has anyone taken a probe to this anomaly? Heck, does anyone even have a good guess as to what’s going on here?