Sleep duration, quality, and timing and their associations with age in a community without electricity in Haiti

Am J Hum Biol. 2014 Jan-Feb;26(1):80-6. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.22481. Epub 2013 Nov 16.


Objectives: Sleep comprises one-third of one's life, yet little is known about sleep in developing countries. Furthermore, many studies in industrialized countries have reported that sleep duration and quality decline with aging, but whether this association persists globally is unknown. This study's objectives were to characterize sleep in a community without electricity in Haiti and to examine associations between measures of sleep and age.

Methods: Fifty-eight Haiti residents (50% women) in four age groups, 18-30, 31-50, 51-64, and ≥ 65 years participated. Three days of wrist actigraphy were used to estimate sleep patterns.

Results: Mean (standard deviation) values of sleep measures were: 20:57 (0:40) for sleep onset, 4:54 (0:43) for sleep end, 9.3 (1.2) h for time in bed, 7.0 (1.0) h for sleep duration, 54 (24) min awake after sleep onset, and 88.7 (5.4)% for sleep maintenance (percentage of sleep period actually spent sleeping). There were no significant differences in the sleep measures between men and women. Regression analyses adjusting for sex, household size, and number of people sleeping in the same room indicated that only sleep fragmentation differed by age group. Specifically, mean fragmentation was higher in the youngest age group than all other age groups, which did not differ from one another.

Conclusions: Average time in bed in this Haitian sample was greater than previously reported for industrialized countries like the United States (9.3 versus. 7-8 h);, however, actual sleep duration averaged only 7 h. No age-related decline in sleep duration or quality was observed in Haiti.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Developing Countries*
  • Electricity
  • Female
  • Haiti
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sleep*
  • Time Factors
  • Wrist / physiology
  • Young Adult