American Lifestyle May Cause Sleep Issues in Mexican Americans

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Examining the association of Anglo and Mexican acculturation to various facets of sleep health among those of Mexican descent at the United States–Mexico border.

Integrating into American culture can mean adopting Americans’ unhealthy habits, including poor sleep. A recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that people of Mexican descent who live at the U.S.-Mexico border (Nogales, Arizona) with “Anglo acculturation” experienced more sleep problems than those who retained their Mexican culture.

The pilot survey study recruited 100 Mexican-Americans who lived in or near Nogles, Arizona. Researchers used the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican-Americans, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Sleep Timing Questionnaire (STQ), Multivariable Apnea Prediction, and the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) scale.

The mean age of participants was 36.5 and 47% were female. “The degree of Mexican acculturation was not associated with any sleep outcomes,” the researchers reported. However, Anglo acculturation appeared to cause several issues.

As people became more Anglo-acculturized, they gained 1 additional point on the ISI (1.3 points after covariate adjustment), 1 additional point on the PSQI (1.1 points after adjustment), 29 fewer minutes of sleep duration on the PSQI (33 minutes after adjustment), 41 fewer minutes of STQ weekend sleep duration (41 minutes after adjustment), 4 fewer percentage points of STQ weekend sleep efficiency (also 4% after adjustment), 7% increased sleep apnea risk (6% after adjustment), and 85% greater likelihood of prior use of sleep medications (132% greater likelihood after adjustment).

The researchers’ findings correlate with previous studies that found Mexicans have fewer sleep problems than people born in the United States., but Mexican-Americans experience sleep difficulties.

Limitations include a small sample size and the fact that sleep measures were self-reported.

“Future studies should examine behavioral, social, and environmental mechanisms of these relationships, examine potential resilience factors in this community, and explore possible intervention strategies for mitigating some of these risks,” the researchers concluded.


Ghani SB, Delgadillo ME, Granados K, et al. Acculturation associated with sleep duration, sleep quality, and sleep disorders at the US-Mexico border. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 29;17(19):E7138. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17197138. PMID: 33003508