Sleep Deprivation and Chronic Health Conditions Among Sexual Minority Adults

Hongying Dai, Jianqiang Hao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine associations between sleep duration and health outcomes among distinct groups of sexual minority adults. Methods: Using data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, we compared sleep duration (very short: ≤ 5 hr; short: 6 hr; normal: 7–8 hr; and long: ≥ 9 hr per day) between cisgender straight adults and distinct groups of sexual minorities. We further examined associations between sleep duration and 10 chronic health conditions among sexual minorities. Results: Of 146,893 respondents, 142,507 (96.2%) were cisgender straight, and 4,386 (3.8%) were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT). Overall, 17.3% of LGBT respondents reported very short sleep per day, compared with 12.2% for cisgender straight respondents (p < 0.0001). Among LGBT populations, the prevalence of very short sleep varied significantly among distinct groups, ranging from 13.2% among transgender female to male adults to 35.5% among transgender gender nonconforming adults. Very short sleep was further associated with increased odds of having stroke (aOR = 4.1, 95% CI [2.2–7.6]), heart attack (aOR = 3.0, CI [1.6–5.8]), coronary heart disease (aOR = 3.1, 95% CI [1.5–6.2]), asthma (aOR = 1.7, 95% CI [1.1–2.4]), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (aOR = 2.5, CI [1.5–4.0]), arthritis (aOR = 2.1, CI [1.4–3.0]), and cancer (aOR = 1.8, 95% CI [1.0–3.2]) among sexual minorities. Disparities in the prevalence of stroke, heart attack, coronary health disease, COPD, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, and cancer were found among LGBT populations. Conclusions: Sexual minorities have a higher prevalence of sleep deprivation as compared with their straight counterparts. Sleep deprivation varies by sexual identity and gender. Very short sleep duration is associated with some chronic health conditions among LGBT populations. Promotion of sleep health education and routine medical assessment of sleep disorders are critically needed for sexual minority adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-268
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioral Sleep Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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