Sleep disorders (SD) have a complex aetiology, and socioeconomic status (SES) as determined by social class, household income, ethnicity and education plays an important role in their development. As SD are associated with cognitive impairment and mood disorders, they in turn impact SES. Socioeconomic status also influences allostatic load caused by chronic accumulation of stress throughout life. Environmental and psychological stressors have a direct effect on SD, and they are modulated by SES, in combination with comorbidities like obesity and cardiovascular disease. This review explores the recent theories about the influence of SES on the development of SD in the general population, whether or not occurring with comorbidities, and also focusses on the interplay between socioeconomic status, circadian rhythms, aging and clinical outcomes like metabolic diseases and cancer.