Ethnic differences in self-reported sleep duration in the Netherlands - the HELIUS study

Kenneth Anujuo, Karien Stronks, Marieke B. Snijder, Girardin Jean-Louis, Gbenga Ogedegbe, Charles Agyemang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We investigated ethnic differences in sleep duration, and the contribution of socio-economic status (SES) to the observed differences in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Methods: 6959 participants (aged 18-71 years) from the multi-ethnic HELIUS cohort were studied. Outcome variables were short sleep (<7 h/night) and long sleep (≥9 h/night). Comparisons among groups were made using Prevalence Ratios (PRs). Results: Ethnic minority groups were more likely than ethnic-Dutch to report short sleep, with prevalence ranging from 15.1% to 49.7% in men and 16.3% to 41.4% in women. Among men, the age-adjusted PRs ranged from 2.15 (95% CI 1.72-2.69) in Turkish to 3.31 (2.75-3.99) in Ghanaians; and among women, from 1.62 (1.30-2.01) in Turkish to 2.52 (2.15-2.95) in African-Surinamese, respectively. The prevalence of long sleep was significantly higher only in Moroccan men and all the ethnic minority women than in ethnic-Dutch women except for African-Surinamese. Adjustment for SES explains the ethnic difference in long sleep, but not for short sleep. Conclusion: Ethnic minority groups reported more short sleep than ethnic-Dutch, while there were no ethnic differences in long sleep. Further study is needed to investigate how this finding on short sleep may contribute to ethnic differences in health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1115-1121
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Ethnicity
  • Minority group
  • Shift work
  • Sleep
  • Sleep duration
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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