Anew study suggests there is a racial gap between African-Americans and Whites when it comes to sleeping.

Dr. Jennifer Caudle explained on NewsOne Now that many African-Americans don’t realize how important sleep is and many of us take it for granted. According to Caudle, the average American should get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, the majority of the American populace does not reach this mark.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, African-Americans get an average of 6.05 hours of sleep per night, while Caucasians get an average of 6.85 hours of sleep per night.

“The problem with that is that there are a lot of health conditions that are associated with lack of sleep that we don’t even think about,” said Caudle.

Sleep insufficiency as well as sleep disruption can lead to hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, cancer and increased mortality. Dr. Caudle defined sleep disruption as an individual not being able to go to sleep and/or not being able to stay asleep. Insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome also may be factors.

Dr. Caudle believes the lack of sleep is an issue that “really needs to be addressed” because of the impact it can have on every aspect of our lives.

Stress can also play a major role in the lack of sleep within the African-American community. Caudle, who is a family physician, explained, “Oftentimes when people say, ‘You know, my mind is kind of racing, I’m not able to shut off my mind, I can’t really settle down,’ a lot of times that’s related to stress.”

“Whether it’s socioeconomic stress, whether somebody has lost a job, you’re trying to pay your bills; whether it’s family stress, you’re worried about a family member or your sick loved ones; whether you’re worried about your children — stress no matter what form it comes in, can absolutely interrupt sleep or make it more difficult to go to sleep,” said Dr. Caudle.

To combat our lack of sleep, she recommends the bedroom should be used for “sleep and sex only.” She added people should not be in “bed paying bills, being angry, watching hostile television shows — things that rile you up doing work.”

When you are in bed, you should be in a “relaxed state.” Caudle also suggested viewers “turn off those beeping and buzzing phones and computers” and recommended that bedrooms should be dark. The use of darkening curtains may help keep light from seeping into your room while you’re trying to sleep.

The temperature of your bedroom could also play a factor in sleep insufficiency. According to Dr. Caudle, “The ideal temperature for sleeping is around 67 degrees.”

Watch Roland Martin and Dr. Jennifer Caudle discuss the lack of sleep within the Black community in the video clip above.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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