Trait-like nocturnal sleep behavior identified by combining wearable, phone-use, and self-report data

NPJ Digit Med. 2021 Jun 2;4(1):90. doi: 10.1038/s41746-021-00466-9.


Using polysomnography over multiple weeks to characterize an individual's habitual sleep behavior while accurate, is difficult to upscale. As an alternative, we integrated sleep measurements from a consumer sleep-tracker, smartphone-based ecological momentary assessment, and user-phone interactions in 198 participants for 2 months. User retention averaged >80% for all three modalities. Agreement in bed and wake time estimates across modalities was high (rho = 0.81-0.92) and were adrift of one another for an average of 4 min, providing redundant sleep measurement. On the ~23% of nights where discrepancies between modalities exceeded 1 h, k-means clustering revealed three patterns, each consistently expressed within a given individual. The three corresponding groups that emerged differed systematically in age, sleep timing, time in bed, and peri-sleep phone usage. Hence, contrary to being problematic, discrepant data across measurement modalities facilitated the identification of stable interindividual differences in sleep behavior, underscoring its utility to characterizing population sleep and peri-sleep behavior.