The new sleep studies involved federal data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the American Time Use Survey between 2013 and 2019. Researchers used these time-stamped surveys of about 190,000 Black people and about 1 846,000 white people who had been called randomly. by phone and asked them, among other topics, how much sleep they got.
Then, using statistical data from Mapping police violence database, investigators identified whether a police killing of an unarmed black person had occurred in a survey respondent’s state in the previous three months. If they found one, they compared the responder’s sleep duration with that of the people called before the murder. They also compared the responses with those of people surveyed at a similar time, but outside the region.
Survey responses were sorted by whether respondents’ total sleep duration was less than seven hours, which is considered “short sleep”, or six hours, considered “very short sleep”, since this threshold has been even more closely associated with poor health outcomes.
After taking into account a range of factors, such as seasonal temperatures and unemployment rates, they found that black people were 2.7 percent more likely to sleep less than seven hours in the first three months after a officer was involved in the murder of an unarmed black man. person in his condition compared to before the murder, and 6.5 percent more likely to report less than six hours of sleep compared to before.
To address potential bias, researchers looked at associations between sleep and other events, such as police killings of armed blacks or unarmed whites, but found no significant links. They also applied regression models to samples of white respondents and found that the associations between sleep and police killings were not statistically significant.
To account for the fact that police killings were likely to affect people across state lines, they designed a second study, this one examining the influence of high-profile killings on a national level. The study compared changes in black respondents’ sleep patterns before and after the murders with changes in white respondents — essentially subtracting the differences seen in white respondents from those seen in blacks.
Here the scale of the discoveries was even greater. In the national-level analysis, researchers found that blacks were 4.6 percent more likely to report fewer than seven hours of sleep and 11.4 percent more likely to report fewer than six hours of sleep in months following a murder, compared to whites interviewed during this period. this time.