A scoping review of racial/ethnic disparities in sleep

Soojung Ahn, Jennifer M. Lobo, Jeongok G. Logan, Hyojung Kang, Younghoon Kwon, Min Woong Sohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite remarkable achievements in ensuring health equity, racial/ethnic disparities in sleep still persist and are emerging as a major area of concern. Accumulating evidence has not yet been well characterized from a broad perspective. We conducted a scoping review of studies on sleep disparities by race/ethnicity to summarize characteristics of existing studies and identify evidence gaps. Methods: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Web of Science databases for studies of racial/ethnic disparities in sleep. Studies that met inclusion criteria were retrieved and organized in a data charting form by study design, sleep measuring methods, sleep features, and racial/ethnic comparisons. Results: One hundred sixteen studies were included in this review. Most studies focused on disparities between Whites and Blacks. Disproportionately fewer studies examined disparities for Hispanic, Asian, and other racial/ethnic groups. Self-reported sleep was most frequently used. Sleep duration, overall sleep quality, and sleep disordered breathing were frequently studied, whereas other features including sleep efficiency, latency, continuity, and architecture were understudied, particularly in racial minority groups in the US. Current study findings on racial/ethnic disparities in most of sleep features is mixed and inconclusive. Conclusions: This review identified significant evidence gaps in racial/ethnic disparities research on sleep. Our results suggest a need for more studies examining diverse sleep features using standardized and robust measuring methods for more valid comparisons of sleep health in diverse race/ethnicity groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-179
Number of pages11
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Evidence gaps
  • Polysomnography
  • Racial/ethnic disparities
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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