Sleep in America: is race or culture an important factor?
While the exact functions of sleep have yet to be elucidated, its importance in our life is 'unquestionable. Phenomenologically, philosophers and mythologists, artists and poets, and scientists alike have all pondered the mystery of sleep. Sleep is observed in myriad species and across cultures, although appreciable differences have been observed in its ontogeny and phylogeny. Inadequate sleep endangers personal distress and can have adverse effects on society at large. This chapter presents results of epidemiologic research on sleep duration and complaints and focuses on racial disparities in the experience of sleep.