To investigate the association between markers of socioeconomic position (years of full time education, access to a car or van, and occupational social class) and mid‐range sleep quantity (6.5 to 8.5 hours).
Office of National Statistics Omnibus Survey, May 1999.
3000 households were randomly selected from the UK postcode address file and one person aged over 16 years from each household was randomly selected and invited to take part in the survey. All respondents aged 25 and over (n=1473) were included in the analyses where appropriate data were available.
Total sleep quantity was greater in more deprived women as measured by years in full time education. There was no linear association between total sleep quantity and any of the markers of socioeconomic position in men. Mid‐range sleep quantity was more common in more educated women. Similar, non‐significant, trends were seen in men.
There is little evidence that more socioeconomically deprived people obtain less sleep than more advantaged ones—indeed, the reverse may be true—but some evidence that more advantaged women are more likely to report mid‐range sleep. Any hypothesis implicating sleep in socioeconomic inequalities in health should take into account mid‐range, rather than total, sleep quantity. Further work should focus both on mid‐range, or “healthy” sleep, quantity as well as sleep quality.
Keywords: socioeconomic position, inequalities, sleep