Sleep deprivation in an American homeless population

Ariana Gonzalez, Quinn Tyminski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently labeled sleep deprivation an epidemic in America with 35% of Americans reporting less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. A recent study in France found that people experiencing homelessness sleep less and experience increased daytime fatigue as compared with the general population. Sleep intervention and research are rarely the focus for this population resulting in insufficient literature and knowledge to date on sleep health in people experiencing homelessness. Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine quality, quantity, supports, and barriers to sleep within a homeless population. Design: A mixed-methods survey was conducted to obtain data on sleep in the homeless population. Participants: 32 English-speaking adults experiencing homelessness were recruited from a local homeless organization. Measures: A web-based survey and two self-report standardized assessments were administered. Standardized assessments included Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Short Form v1.0-Fatigue 13a and the PROMIS Short Form v1.0-Sleep Disturbance 8b. Results: Seventy-five percent of participants report getting less than the 7-9 recommended hours of sleep per night. Participants scored almost one standard deviation above the mean on both PROMIS measures demonstrating greater fatigue and sleep disturbance as compared with the general population. Four themes were identified via qualitative analysis: lack of environmental control, emotion and thought, substance use as a sleep aid, and sleep is important for health and daily function. Conclusions: Results indicate a need for sleep hygiene intervention within the homeless population. Sleep deprivation is a barrier to the population's ability to obtaining housing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-494
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Health
  • Homeless
  • Sleep
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Sleep insufficiency


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