November 12, 2019
Bad sleep affects marginalized people disproportionately, says Aric Prather, a clinical health psychologist in California. A 2017 study from France found that people experiencing homelessness sleep significantly less than the general population; 41 percent report insomnia. Shelter operators witness first-hand the frustration and aggression caused by exhaustion. But few shelters have the capacity to accommodate flexible sleeping schedules. In public areas, municipalities are prone to installing “hostile” architectural elements, such as tilted benches and street spikes, which are intentionally designed to prevent people from lying down. Social stigma and aggression from passersby can worsen the situation for anyone trying to find an hour of rest in a bus shelter or at a public park.