Insomnia Symptoms Are Not Associated with Dyslipidemia: A Population-Based Study

Sleep. 2016 Mar 1;39(3):551-8. doi: 10.5665/sleep.5524.


Study objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine whether or not insomnia symptoms were associated with measured dyslipidemia.

Methods: This was a population-based multiyear cross-sectional study, using data from 2005-2008 United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Survey participants ages 20 y and older self-reported the frequency of difficulty falling asleep, prolonged nocturnal awakening, and undesired early morning awakening over the preceding month. One-time venipuncture was performed and a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) of ≥ 160 mg/ dL, triglycerides of ≥ 200 mg/dL, and a high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) of < 40 mg/dL denoted dyslipidemia. Descriptive statistics and multiple logistic regression were used.

Results: Data on LDL-C, triglycerides, and HDL-C was available for 4,635, 4,757, and 9,798 individuals, respectively. There were no significant associations between having any insomnia symptom at least five times in the past month and high LDL-C (odds ratio [OR] 1.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.92-1.55) or low HDL-C (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.82-1.04) in unadjusted analyses, or with high triglycerides after adjusting for covariates (OR 1.03, 95% CI 0.78-1.37). Recipients of sleeping pills who also had insomnia symptoms had significantly increased adjusted odds of elevated LDL-C (OR 2.18, 95% CI 1.14-4.15).

Conclusions: Insomnia symptoms were generally not associated with dyslipidemia, but receipt of sleeping pills in the setting of insomnia was associated with elevated LDL-C. Further research is needed to confirm a possible link between sleeping pill use and dyslipidemia and to delineate if an association with atherosclerosis exists with specific types of sleeping pills or with all sedative medications more broadly.

Keywords: insomnia; lipids; population health; sedatives; sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / blood
  • Atherosclerosis / complications
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dyslipidemias / blood*
  • Dyslipidemias / complications
  • Dyslipidemias / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Self Report
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / blood*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / complications
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • United States


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides