Inequality of Sleep

So, should sleep be a human right? Maybe businesses should be more aware of their employees' sleep. Or, should governments do more to prevent it?
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Gentrification is occurring in many cities across the United States, leading low-income people to relocate. Usually they relocate further away from the economic hub of the city. This may be having one effect that has not been detected: the inequality of sleep. To demonstrate and explain what this concept entails, exploring the gentrification that is occurring in New York City would be a good example, for it tends to be in the media more often.

In an article, "The True Cost Of Living In New York City," which was almost written a year ago in Business Insider by Nick Wallace states, "The cost of living in Manhattan is more than double the national average." The increasing investments, demand, taxes and everyday costs are to blame for the price of living in Manhattan.

The progression of this leads Manhattan to become more unfavorable to low-income individuals, even middle-income individuals. Yet, as the middle-income relocate to other areas relatively close to Manhattan. Those areas start to increase in price. This only increases the burden for low-income individuals to relocate or find some new means of living within the increased priced area.

In another article, "The Most and Least Expensive Neighbors to Rent in New York City," by Christi Danner almost written a year ago indicates that most affordable parts of New York City are furthest from Manhattan. Even in the more recent Zumper report, "Zumper National Rent Report: January 2016," by Devin O'Brien, which the prior article used the last years figures. In the newer set of information there are indications of prices in Manhattan and surrounding areas increasing even further.

These factors only paint a bleaker picture for low-income individuals, for the majority of jobs are within Manhattan. As they relocate further from Manhattan, their travel time increases, or they need to work more than one job or hours. These two choices results both share the fact of disturbing sleep patterns. It may not seem that important because New York City is the "city that never sleeps." But, that can have detrimental effects on individuals' health and mind. One effect of sleep deprivation is explained in an article, "Sleep Deprivation Linked to False Confessions." The article was featured in Science Daily and the study was conducted by Michigan State University. The article states:

On the final day of the experiment, half of the participants slept for eight hours while the other half stayed awake overnight. The next morning before leaving the lab, each participant was shown a statement summarizing his or her activities and falsely alleging the participant had pressed the escape key. Participants were asked to sign the statement, check a box confirming its accuracy and sign their name. The results were striking: 50 percent of sleep-deprived participants signed the false confession, while only 18 percent of rested participants signed it. Further, sleep deprivation had a significant effect on participants who scored lower on the Cognitive Reflection Test, which is related to intelligence. Those participants were much more likely to sign the false confession.

One must wonder what false confession translates into one's everyday life: whereas, the other part clearly points to a lowering of one's reflection capabilities. Moreover, another article, "Sleep and Disease," by Harvard Medicine links lack of sleep to: chronic disease, obesity, diabetes, increased heart disease and hypertension, mood disorders, poor immune functions, higher alcohol consumption and lowering of one's life expectancy. Therefore, one can correlate gentrification and poor policy to a raise of sleep depravation and many other health complications of the lower-economy individuals because it is causing individuals to be unable to afford the chance to sleep due to raising prices and relocation. In addition, poor policy can be blame for the simple fact of not fully addressing the issue.

Moreover, one must consider the results at the workplace, which is explored by Patrick J. Skerrett in his article, "Sleep Deprivation's True Workplace Costs," published in Harvard Business Review states:

Performance and productivity, as measured by the Work Limitations Questionnaire, was significantly lower among workers with insomnia and other sleep trouble than they were among those who usually slept well. Writing in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the researchers estimated that lost productivity due to poor sleep cost $3,156 per employee with insomnia and averaged about $2,500 for those with less severe sleep problems. Across the four companies, sleep-related reductions in productivity cost $54 million a year. This doesn't include the cost of absenteeism-those with insomnia missed work an extra five days a year compared to good sleepers.

Thus, not only is it affecting an individual, it also has ramifications for the workplace.

Furthermore, this article alludes to what affects one's sleep, "How well you sleep, or how poorly, is influenced by many factors: stress, health, work, travel, medications, alcohol, smoking, even weigh." The health problem, sleep deprivation, only reinforces itself then.

In addition, one must consider families who are being affected by this and the effects on children. There have already been indications that obesity and heart disease is more prevalent in lower-income households. Also, what effects this may have on a low-income students performance. The effects seem more horrible for families than individuals because child depend on their parents for all sorts of behaviors and other important things in their development.

From this deduction, it seems that there could be a correlation between gentrification and an increase in sleep deprivation of lower-income individuals. This creates an inequality in sleep, for low-income individuals do not have the luxury to stay awake as someone in the middle-income or higher-income. So, should sleep be a human right? Maybe businesses should be more aware of their employees' sleep. Or, should governments do more to prevent it?

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