Commuters' Study Reveals an Advantage for the Rich

Study finds that wealthy people get to sleep later
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2016 11:01 AM CDT
Commuters' Study Reveals an Advantage for the Rich

Chalk up one more health advantage for the rich over the poor: more sleep. Researchers in Colombia crunched data about the movement of residents in Medellin and Manizales and found some interesting patterns, they report in Royal Society Open Science. For instance, rich and poor people traveled longer distances to get to work than the middle class, but their journeys were much different. Poorer residents left their homes at 5 or 6am and followed indirect routes—likely because they're walking parts of the way and then taking public transportation, reports Ars Technica. Richer residents, on the other hand, left about 7am and traveled direct routes because they're driving cars (or being driven). The same applied on the return trip.

The chart breaking down low-income commutes looks like a graph of "relatively poor wiring," write the researchers. But as wealth increases, so does travel efficiency, all of which "translates to substantially more sleep for the wealthy," notes a post at Boing Boing. In effect, the rich are able to buy more sleep than the poor, and the consequences go beyond the physical, writes Roheeni Saxena at Ars Technica: "This is sobering because it suggests that possessing wealth is a self-perpetuating state. The poor, who spend more time stuck in transit, have less opportunity to increase their income." She sees one potential remedy: Better public transit. (Your body will pay when you skimp on sleep.)

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