STUDY OBJECTIVES: Sleep duration can change over the life course; however, previous studies rarely investigated the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and individual sleep trajectories over time. We examined the association between baseline socioeconomic characteristics and long-term sleep trajectories among Black and White adults. METHODS: This study used data from the Southern Community Cohort Study (N = 45 035). Diverse trajectories of sleep duration were constructed using self-reported sleep duration at baseline and after ~10 years of follow-up. The associations between baseline socioeconomic characteristics and sleep trajectories were examined using multinomial logistic regression. RESULTS: Both Black and White participants experienced similar long-term individual sleep trajectories for baseline educational attainment and employment status albeit the associations appeared stronger among White participants. Lower education and unemployment were associated with higher odds of various suboptimal sleep trajectories suggesting worsening long-term sleep patterns among both racial groups. However, there were some racial differences in the experience of long-term sleep trajectories for household income and neighborhood SES. Household income was notably more important among White than Black individuals; lower household income was associated with higher odds of more suboptimal long-term sleep trajectories for White than Black individuals. Also, neighborhood SES was slightly more important among White than Black individuals; lower neighborhood SES was associated with higher odds of a few suboptimal long-term sleep trajectories for both racial groups. CONCLUSIONS: Lower socioeconomic characteristics were associated with various suboptimal long-term sleep trajectories among Black and White participants. Substantial improvements in socio-economic characteristics may contribute to improved sleep patterns.
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