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Go To Sleep

Recently, a study was released saying African-American college students spend less time in bed, sleep for a shorter period of time, and take longer to go to sleep than white college students. Now it was only three-and-a-half-years ago that I was a sleepless student in college, so in a lot of ways, the study hits close to home. I think I’m just now adapting to real-world sleep habits as opposed to the ones I had while I was in school. So, that being said, I’m going to take a stab as to why my people are getting less shut eye than our white brothers and sisters.


The Black College Factor
A lot of African-Americans go to African-American colleges, also known as HBCU’s. Most HBCU’s are located in the ‘hood, like the one I went to. That being said, it’s hard to go to sleep when you live in the kinds of neighborhoods where people are up all times of the night, barbecuing and getting arrested.

The Food Factor
I’m going to assume most people know about the ‘itis – that state of extreme drowsiness black folks get after eating entirely too much food. Well, seems to me, there’s a shortage of ‘itis cases, which suggests African-American college students aren’t getting enough to eat. Food is in short supply for our educated African-American youth, and something must be done about it! We must feed the African-American college student, because if not, the sleep deprivation in our community will continue to plague them.

The Job Factor
A couple of friends and I used to joke that we had so many side hustles, we were too busy for school. Such is life for the average African-American college student. Most of us were the first in our families to go to college, thus making our families ill-prepared for the financial burden of higher education. So in order to make ends meet, my people are working the late night shift at some student dormitory, or as a sales clerk during the afternoon, and staying up all night studying.

The “I Had A Dream” Factor
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, and to hear the old school tell it, it’s on this generation to see his dream come into fruition. Well, how are we going to make the dream happen if we’re just sleeping through the day? We won’t, so we must continue to get no sleep and stay up all hours of the night to make sure the good Doctor’s dream becomes a reality. Tell me I’m lying.

The Cosby Show Factor
There are very few quality television programs featuring black people, especially in the mind of the bougie African-American college student. The only alternative to the insulting prime-time shows is late night Cosby Show re-runs, which air on Nick@Nite at a time when the African-American college student should be in bed.

The Play Factor
We work hard when we get to the halls of higher education, but when it’s time to play, we go just as hard. If the cops don’t come, African-American college students will party until the sun comes up, and then, we’ll go find an after-hours spot to eat. (Shot out to J in the comments.)

While I realize a lot of these theories are a stretch, I never claimed to be a scientist, so if you disagree with any of them, you can just go to bed somewhere. But before I sign off, I do have one more observation about the study I’d like to point out. Now that it has been proven African-American college students don’t sleep nearly as much as their white counterparts, is it safe to say the lazy stereotype most African-Americans get tagged with is on its way out? If you all aren’t too tired, feel free to answer this question and lend your own theories in the comments below.


Ethnic Differences in Sleep Quality and Blood Pressure – By Science Daily

My own sleeping problems.  

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