Bisexual Adults Have Highest Prevalence of Sleep Problems in NYC Survey Interview with:

Dustin T. Duncan, ScD Associate Professor Director, NYU Spatial Epidemiology Lab Department of Population Health NYU School of Medicine NYU Langone Health

Dr. Duncan

Dustin T. DuncanScD
Associate Professor
Director, NYU Spatial Epidemiology Lab
Department of Population Health
NYU School of Medicine
NYU Langone Health What is the background for this study?

Response: Sleep and sleep hygiene have emerged as one of the major determinants of health and wellbeing (alongside good diet, regular exercise, and not smoking). However, a small number of studies have used population-representative samples to examine sexual orientation disparities in sleep. Our study aimed to fill this gap in knowledge. What are the main findings?

Response: The main findings of the study are that we found that almost 42% of NYC adults reported sleep problems in the past two weeks. Heterosexual NYC adults reported the lowest prevalence of sleep problems (40.4%), followed by homosexual adults (49.2%); bisexual adults reported the highest prevalence of sleep problems (62.7%). Bisexual adults had 1.4 times more likely to report sleep problems compared to heterosexual adult. Overall, women had a higher prevalence of sleep problems than men (45.8% vs. 37.2%). Bisexual women had 1.6 times more likely to report sleep problems. What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: Readers should take away that we found sexual orientation disparities in sleep problems among a population-based sample of New Yorkers, suggesting the need to sleep health promotion intervention targeted to sexual minorities. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Like all research, our study suffers from a variety of limitations, which can be addressed in future research. Future research can collect objective measures of sleep – including actigraphs – as our study used a survey, which is subjective. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Beyond sexual minorities, future research can examine gender minorities, such as transgender women. An additional important area of future research is to determine the reasons or determinants of these sexual orientation disparities in sleep problems.


Disparities in Sleep Problems by Sexual Orientation among New York City Adults: an Analysis of the New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2013–2014

(10.07.2018) Journal of Urban Health

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