Disparities in Hypertension Among African-Americans: Implications of Insufficient Sleep

  • Naima CovassinEmail author
  • Eddie L. Greene
  • Prachi Singh
  • Virend K. Somers
Secondary Hypertension: Nervous System Mechanisms (M Wyss, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Secondary Hypertension: Nervous System Mechanisms


Purpose of Review

Sleep deficiency has been proposed as a potential contributor to racial disparities in cardiovascular health. We present contemporary evidence on the unequal burden of insufficient sleep in Blacks/African-Americans and the repercussions for disparate risk of hypertension.

Recent Findings

The prevalence of insufficient sleep is high and rising and has been recognized as an important cardiovascular risk factor. Presumably due to a constellation of environmental, psychosocial, and individual determinants, these risks appear exacerbated in Blacks/African-Americans, who are more likely to experience short sleep than other ethnic/racial groups. Population-based data suggest that the risk of hypertension associated with sleep deficiency is greater in those of African ancestry. However, there is a paucity of experimental evidence linking short sleep duration to blood pressure levels in African-Americans.


Blacks/African-Americans may be more vulnerable to sleep deficiency and to its hypertensive effects. Future research is needed to unequivocally establish causality and determine the mechanism underlying the postulated racial inequalities in sleep adequacy and consequent cardiovascular risk.


African-Americans Nocturnal dipping Health disparities Lifestyle Sleep 


Funding Information

Dr. Covassin is supported by NIH HL134808 and HL065176, American Heart Association grant 16SDG27250156, and Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science grant Marie Ingalls Cardiovascular Research Career Development Fund in honor of Dr. Alexander Schirger. Dr. Singh is supported by American Heart Association grant 17GRNT33660138 and NIH HL65176. Dr. Somers is supported by NIH HL134808 and HL065176. The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the NIH.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Somers has served as a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline, Dane Garvin, ResMed, Respicardia, Philips, Bayer, and U Health; has received grant support from a Philips Respironics Foundation gift to Mayo Foundation; and is working with Mayo Health Solutions and their industry partners on intellectual property related to sleep and cardiovascular disease. The other authors indicate no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naima Covassin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eddie L. Greene
    • 2
  • Prachi Singh
    • 1
  • Virend K. Somers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cardiovascular MedicineMayo Clinic College of MedicineRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Internal MedicineMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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