Economics

Nap Demographics Weirdly Fascinating

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followed by nightstick aerobics

It's easy to dismiss arguments about leisure and quality of life trade-offs when in the midst of a heated debate about income inequality. Life is hard if you don't have money, no doubt about that.

But stats like this one from a recent Pew report on napping remind us that being poor in America today is a peculiar, rarefied condition. About one-third of Americans (34 percent) report napping in the last 24 hours, but poor people crush the middle class in the nap-a-thon:

Napping is quite common at the lower end of the income scale; some 42 percent of adults with an annual income below $30,000 report they napped in the past day. As income rises, napping declines. However, at the upper end of the scale (adults whose annual income is $100,000 or above) the tendency to nap revives and reverts to the mean.

What do non-poor people do with their non-napping hours? Mostly, they work.

And for your fun, un-P.C. fact of the day: Black people nap way more than whites or Hispanics.

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  1. Which direction does the causality arrow point here? Why couldn’t you say

    As napping declines, income rises.

    And, of course, once you’re making the big bucks, you can afford the luxury of napping if you want to.

  2. Those lazy, no-good n***ers.

    Nappers! Nappers, damn it!!

  3. Finally putting to data what we all have known for a long time.

    Poor people are fucking lazy.

  4. NAPPING headed!

  5. My 2 year old naps every day and she has NO money, so anecdotally, I agree with this study.

  6. Jesus I’m doing something wrong. I’m far from rich and I don’t nap at all or sleep much for that mater. WTF!

    My life is one outlier after another.

  7. I’m not napping, I’ve been tased, dammit!

  8. If someone finds my “t” let me know.

  9. Sigh…

    Correlation != Causation

    Fail.

  10. We’re the only country that DOSN”T nap! I used to nap when I got hom from my job that started at 0500 hrs. I’d take a 45 minute nap around 1400hrs, and i was good to go for the rest of the day.

    Napping is healthy.

  11. Those lazy, no-good n***ers.

    Nappers! Nappers, damn it!!

    Ska… that’s funny and brilliant on so many levels, I don’t know where to start.

  12. So yeah, lemme get this straight, someone making a salary at the Pew Research Center put the idea for this study up the flagpole, and someone saluted… where do they come up with this stuff? It’s like they’re channeling dead crazy people.

  13. nap way more than whites or Hispanics.

    Lonewacko must be napping right now… he hasn’t responded to this.

  14. I would have liked to had a question about work shifts, which I think could shed some light on the tendency to nap.

  15. Black people nap way more than whites or Hispanics.

    Remember the signs at Comiskey Park during the Claudell Washington era:

    WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE

  16. I’m a raging insomniac. I should be a billionaire.

  17. FTA: “The question did not specify what is meant by a nap.”

    I know it when I see it.

  18. I napped a whole lot more when I was in the Army, and I made a whole lot less money.

    Now I drink a whole lot more coffee and nap less, but I’m well paid to be grumpy and irritable.

  19. This a dilemma for Lonewacko. Calling Mexicans lazy does nothing to further his caricature that they are stealing our jobz!

  20. I agree that there’s a trade off between free time and income, and that the balance that maximizes quality of life can vary depending of personal preference. However, you’ve missed one key point in evaluating the napping data. Jobs that require people to work night shifts tend to be low paying and to cause irregular sleep patterns.

  21. My read on it is that the middle class is so totally owned that they can’t take naps.

    The rich can because they own the middle class.

    The poor can because they’ve got nothing to own.

  22. SugarFree | July 30, 2009, 4:36pm | #

    This a dilemma for Lonewacko. Calling Mexicans lazy does nothing to further his caricature that they are stealing our jobz!

    Being an ignorant bigot excuses one from being consistent.

  23. Hmmm, we have a couple of dozen responses within about two hours of the orginal posting, and they all ocurred before 5 pm, USA time, on a work day. Either we have lots of readers in the UK, or reasonoids fully appreciate the value of free time.

  24. Those are the best cops I have seen in a while. Lets encourage that program

  25. I’d take a 45 minute nap around 1400hrs, and i was good to go for the rest of the day.

    Napping is healthy.

    Naps just don’t work for me. If I take a nap I either feel like shit the rest of the day, or I sleep right on through to the next day.

  26. It’s OK, jtuf — we’re on smoke breaks. 😉

  27. If I take a nap I either feel like shit the rest of the day, or I sleep right on through to the next day.

    You too, huh? If I fall asleep b’fore god intended me to (at midnight-ish with a vodka bottle and pills by my bed), I’m done.

  28. Hmmm, we have a couple of dozen responses within about two hours of the orginal posting, and they all ocurred before 5 pm, USA time, on a work day. Either we have lots of readers in the UK, or reasonoids fully appreciate the value of free time.

    It’s called ADD.

  29. It’s called ADD.

    hmm: most of us have already moved onto the next thread.

  30. The people I know who take naps are about the least motivated people in the circle of people I know.

    Napping is like being fat. If you aren’t a drunk, you have no excuse.

  31. Napster!

    Bueller?

  32. From personal experience, for the three annoying months in which I was unemployed recently (not anymore, yay!), I napped quite a bit. It really doesn’t come from doing much less; i.e. a person can be running about town tossing job apps all day instead of sitting at a 9-to-5 desk. But it is comparatively less occupying (and hence more boring), more stressful, and also, especially in this economy, very very depressing.

    Bored, stressed, and depressed leads to naps, no doubt about it.

  33. ZZZZZzzzz…. buh! did someone say something?

    Here is where I take the Mediterranean worldview over the Anglo-Saxon: the first group sleeps after lunch, while the second pretends not to.

    You need a little doze after lunch to reboot — we’re like Windows, not Linux.

  34. bigslacker, I don’t have aspirations for wealth or success. WTF does it matter if i’m unmotivated and take naps?

  35. However, you’ve missed one key point in evaluating the napping data. Jobs that require people to work night shifts tend to be low paying and to cause irregular sleep patterns.

    [Citation needed]

    Given that I have never heard of ANYWHERE that does not provide some type of additional compensation for night shifts, I find this claim dubious at best.

  36. Here is where I take the Mediterranean worldview over the Anglo-Saxon

    Same here. I am completely useless after lunch until about 4PM, and when I’m not half-dozing at my desk, I look around and see I’m not the only one.

  37. Given that I have never heard of ANYWHERE that does not provide some type of additional compensation for night shifts, I find this claim dubious at best.

    So, for instance, the night security guy gets an additional 15 cents an hour. The road to riches.

    And that guy at the factory, on the night shift…he’s rolling in the dough.

  38. “Jobs that require people to work night shifts tend to be low paying and to cause irregular sleep patterns.”

    This. Also, I expect people who have to wake up early for physically exhausting jobs to do more napping, especially if they’ve got kids who need attending to after work.

  39. Am I the only one that found the numbers cited by Conley on the Peter Kuhn and Fernando Lozano paper a wee bit sketchy? He did not state anything regarding total hours work, just the growth (or decline) within a quintile of long hours worked. This could say nothing or a lot. If 60% of men in the lowest income quintile worked long hours in 1980, that would mean it was down to 30% in 2008. If the percent of long hours worked by men in the top quintile in 1980 was 10%, it would mean that 18% work long hours in 2008. A big jump, to be sure, but still less. However, I don’t know what the actual numbers are because I refuse to buy the paper. However, my guess would be if the numbers were favorable to Conley’s argument, he would have called them out specifically rather than resorting to obfuscation and innuendo. And those are the only facts on hours worked in the whole op-ed.

    I’m guessing the reason why there are fewer low income men that work long hours in the bottom quintile is that many of those men are stay at home dads. In 1980, the phenomenon was non existent, while now it’s more common.

  40. However, you’ve missed one key point in evaluating the napping data. Jobs that require people to work night shifts tend to be low paying and to cause irregular sleep patterns.

    The pay part of that comment is a little off depending on how you measure it. Many jobs skilled and white color pay well at night. From overseas traders in NY to engineers at TV stations to factory workers getting a night differential. The sleep part is true.

  41. bigslacker, I don’t have aspirations for wealth or success. WTF does it matter if i’m unmotivated and take naps?

    Given my handle, I really can’t argue too much with that.

  42. “Jobs that require people to work night shifts tend to be low paying and to cause irregular sleep patterns.”

    What does the data have to say about stripper sleep patterns?

  43. Paul | July 30, 2009, 4:12pm | #

    Those lazy, no-good n***ers.
    Nappers! Nappers, damn it!!

    Is that why they’re always late?

  44. Another explanation for at least some of the napping: poor diet.

  45. Napping is quite common at the low-income people .What do non-poor people do with their non-napping hours? Mostly, they work.i guess there is no doubt about the gap between rich and poor,success and failure.

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