Indentured Insomnia: Why the Poor Can't Sleep at Night

Being poor results in sleeping less for a variety of reasons. One major factor is public transportation and the fact that conforming to bus schedules can sometimes take hours out of one's sleep schedule each day.

How much sleep you get is strongly correlated with how much money you make, according to a Gallup poll that compared annual income with people's average nightly rest. The reality is a stark one, especially for immigrants who came to the US looking for a better way of life. The Atlantic profiles Sam McCalman who emigrated from Guyana, a small country that borders Venezuela and Brazil. Living in a cramped New York studio apartment, McCalman works two jobs at the JFK airport and typically sleeps four hours a night. 


Being poor results in sleeping less for a variety of reasons. One major factor is public transportation and the fact that conforming to bus schedules can sometimes take hours out of one's sleep schedule each day. Naturally another factor is money. Low-skilled workers must often clock nearly 80 hours of work per week just to make ends meet in the nation's more expensive locales like New York City. 

Compounding sleep issues are health problems that accompany a lack of sleep, from weight gain to sleep apnea. For workers who take on a night shift to pay the bills, the body's shifting circadian rhythm can result in even less sleep and require a day (one of your days off) to readjust to a daytime schedule. In her Big Think interview, sleep psychologist Shelby Harris explains how science can help you find a better sleep pattern:

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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