IRVINE, Calif. — A new study at the University of California, Irvine is looking into sleep disorders in the Asian American community.
Researchers believe that a number of factors may be contributing to higher rates of sleep disorders among Asian Americans. Among those are cultural pressures, assimilation and hate against the AAPI community.
Dr. Sunmin Lee, a researcher and professor at UC Irvine, is conducting the study. She said she experienced sleep loss when she immigrated to the United States from South Korea 25 years ago.
“As a scientist, I’m going through this and I hear my community going through this, so let’s see how scientifically I can figure this out,” Lee said.
Georgia Yu said she struggles with sleep nightly. Lately, she’s averaged three hours per night.
She said it’s when she’s trying to fall asleep that her mind wanders.
“What people think, what you think, what you’re trying to do, where you’re going, if you’re doing the right thing, when you go outside, all of the dangers that could potentially happen,” said Yu when asked about what goes through her mind as she tries to get rest.
Yu added that cultural assimilation creates a heavy burden on the Asian American community.
“There’s a lot of hardship because you have to have the same culture that you were born with and that your parents came here with, and then to assimilate with becoming a U.S. person,” Yu said.
UC Irvine research assistant Nancy Mai hopes this study will raise awareness to the community.
“It’s hard to approach this community to give up personal information, but it’s also important because it helps build the foundation toward bettering the outcomes of health and wellness of future generations,” Mai said.
The study will follow the sleep of several hundred Asian Americans over the next few years. The research team will also take regular blood samples to measure the impact of sleep disorders on their health.
The team plans to look at glucose and cholesterol levels, as well as several other factors.
They hope the results of this study will lead the Asian American community to take action and work toward getting a good night’s sleep.