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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Emerging Science Note/Schooled Sleep

Air Date: Week of May 27, 2005

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Living on Earth's Katie Zemtseff reports on how more schooling could help women sleep at night.

Transcript

[SCIENCE NOTE THEME]

ZEMSTEFF: A higher level of education helps you climb the ladder at work, and new research shows that if you’re a woman, it may also help you sleep better.

Researchers from the Taipei City Psychiatric Centre in Taiwan surveyed 40,000 people aged 15 and older. Subjects were asked basic questions such as marital status, occupation, and education. They were then asked to grade their quality of sleep on a scale of 1-5 with 5 representing nightly insomnia.

Surprisingly, education proved to be the biggest difference between the sexes. It turns out the more education a woman had, the more likely she was to have a good night’s sleep. However, the more education a man had, the more his sleep quality went down. In short: the gender gap decreased as women received more education.

In contrast to previous studies, researchers found a person’s paycheck had little to do with sleep.
According to previous global studies, men have a much better quality of sleep while women are twice as likely to be insomniacs. Scientists insist these results prove social factors play a part in this problem, but do not get to the heart of the matter which they say is a question of biology.
But a word of caution: scientists don’t suggest sleeping in class.

That’s this week’s note on emerging science, I’m Katie Zemtseff.

 

Links

Study abstract, from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

 

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