Lack of sleep or insomnia is truly a serious problem. In fact, insomnia has been linked to multiple diseases including cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and obesity.Let’s not forget that driving while tired causes about 80,000 traffic accidents a year, a thousand of which are fatal.  To make matters even worse lack of sleep causes increased mortality: In other words you are more likely to die, if you don’t get enough sleep.

What is enough sleep? Generally, at least 6 or 7 hours a night is considered adequate. Shift workers, especially those who work nights or switch from nights to days are at highest risk of suffering from insomnia.

Like many diseases income levels do matter. Yet until recently there has never been a study which addresses money or lack of money and risks for insomnia. The CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention crunched some numbers from a 2013 nationwide survey. This numbers showed that wealth does indeed matter.

If you happened to live under the poverty line, which  for 2013 was$23,350 for a family of four, you were definitely less likely to get more than six hours of sleep nightly than for someone with an income of $94,200 in a family of four or 400% of the poverty level. Two -thirds of folks living below the poverty level reported getting those six hours, whereas three- fourths of their wealthier counterparts managed at least six hours of sleep a night.

Just why poverty makes insomnia more likely is not clear from this study. But the fact that so many people in this country have insomnia and that poverty increases this risk, makes insomnia a serious public health epidemic.