Clinical Relevance of Sleep Duration: Results from a Cross-Sectional Analysis Using NHANES

J Clin Sleep Med. 2016 Jun 15;12(6):813-9. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.5876.


Study objectives: To assess the clinical relevance of sleep duration, hours slept were compared by health status, presence of insomnia, and presence of depression, and the association of sleep duration with BMI and cardiovascular risk was quantified.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of subjects in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys using adjusted linear and logistic regressions.

Results: A total of 22,281 adults were included, 37% slept ≤ 6 hours, 36% were obese, and 45% reported cardiovascular conditions. Mean sleep duration was 6.87 hours. Better health was associated with more hours of sleep. Subjects with poor health reported sleeping 46 min, (95% CI -56.85 to -35.67) less than subjects with excellent health. Individuals with depression (vs. not depressed) reported 40 min less sleep, (95% CI -47.14 to -32.85). Individuals with insomnia (vs. without insomnia) reported 39 min less sleep, (95% CI -56.24 to -22.45). Duration of sleep was inversely related to BMI; for every additional hour of sleep, there was a decrease of 0.18 kg/m(2) in BMI, (95% CI -0.30 to -0.06). The odds of reporting cardiovascular problems were 6.0% lower for every hour of sleep (odds ratio = 0.94, 95% CI [0.91 to 0.97]). Compared with subjects who slept ≤ 6 h, subjects who slept more had lower odds of reporting cardiovascular problems, with the exception of subjects ≥ 55 years old who slept ≥ 9 hours.

Conclusions: Long sleep duration is associated with better health. The fewer the hours of sleep, the greater the BMI and reported cardiovascular disease. A difference of 30 minutes of sleep is associated with substantive impact on clinical well-being.

Keywords: NHANES; cardiovascular risk; health; obesity; observational research; sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / complications*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / complications*
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult