Study objectives: To explore the relationship between sleep duration in adolescence and hypercholesterolemia in young adulthood. Experimental sleep restriction has been shown to significantly increase total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels in women. Short sleep duration has been found in cross sectional studies to be associated with higher total cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol levels. Sleep deprivation could increase the risk for hypercholesterolemia by increasing appetite and dietary consumption of saturated fats, decreasing motivation to engage in regular physical activity, and increasing stress and resultant catecholamine induced lipolysis. No previous published population studies have examined the longitudinal relationship between sleep duration and high cholesterol.
Design: Multivariate longitudinal analyses stratified by sex of the ADD Health using logistic regression.
Setting: United States nationally representative, school-based, probability-based sample.
Participants: Adolescents (n = 14,257) in grades 7 to 12 at baseline (1994-95) and ages 18 to 26 at follow-up (2001-02).
Measurements and results: Among females, each additional hour of sleep was associated with a significantly decreased odds of being diagnosed with high cholesterol in young adulthood (OR = 0.85, 95% CI 0.75-0.96) after controlling for covariates. Additional sleep was associated with decreased, yet not statistically significant, odds ratios for hypercholesterolemia in males (OR = 0.91, 95% CI 0.79-1.05).
Conclusions: Short sleep durations in adolescent women could be a significant risk factor for high cholesterol. Interventions that lengthen sleep could potentially serve as treatments and as primary preventative measures for hypercholesterolemia.