Sleep on It: African American Professionals Don’t Get Enough Sleep, According to Study

Rest for professionalsIf you are an African American corporate professional and have managed to burrow your way through and climb up the ladder of success in your career, chances are excellent that one of the biggest sacrifices you made during your trek was forgoing dozens of nights of sleep?according to a study released earlier this year by the Harvard University School of Public Health (HSPH) in Massachusetts.

As the number of African Americans entering professional and management roles in various industries climbs the frequently elusive corporate ladder, a sacrifice made by thousands of professionals that may be overlooked by some is the lack of a sufficient and consistent pattern of sleep. The glaring sleep disparity between African-Americans and Caucasians, published earlier this year in the American Journal of Epidemiology, highlights social factors and the type of job held as key determinants to how much sleep someone gets.

According to the study, which examined more than eight years of data between 2004 and 2011, African Americans working in professional or management positions were, on average, more likely (42 percent) to experience less sleep (8 hours or more) than White colleagues (26 percent). African Americans employed in support services and labor industries were also more likely to experience less sleep than their White counterparts, but less sleep than African Americans in corporate level management or professional positions.

African Americans in the retail and food service industry-related jobs had similar and sufficient sleep cycles to their White counterparts. ?The study suggests that moving up the professional ladder in any occupation results in sleep losses for Blacks but gains for whites,? says Chandra Jackson, a research fellow at HSPH and the lead author of the study.

To that end, Carla Harris, managing director and senior client adviser at financial industry services powerhouse Morgan Stanley in New York, said many African American professionals adopt a higher work ethic and standard than others and often must contend with subtle and not so subtle forms of racism.? In an interview last year with TNJ.com, Harris said, ?As African Americans in corporate America, many of us have to deal with more negative issues related often related to race and other issues and we have to work longer and harder in order to achieve the same professional success as others.? Harris should know better than anyone about the trials and tribulations of being a minority in Corporate America. She was named one of the most powerful women in corporate America by Fortune Magazine and is a 2005 Network Journal 25 Influential Black Women in Business honoree.

Experts recommend these simple sleep hygiene techniques for busy corporate executives and others:
???? Go to bed at the same time each night, and rise at the same time each morning.
???? Sleep in a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment.
???? Avoid large meals before bedtime.
???? Remove all gadgets from the bedroom?TV’s, computers and cell phones.
???? Listen to soft and relaxing music before going to sleep.