Sleep, cardiovascular risk factors, and kidney function: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)

Sleep Health. 2022 Dec;8(6):648-653. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2022.08.004. Epub 2022 Oct 8.


Objectives: Examine the associations of sleep measures with kidney function changes over time among individuals from a community-based study.

Methods: The sample includes 1657 participants (287 with chronic kidney disease [CKD]) in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Sleep Cohort (mean age: 57.7 years, male: 46.0%). We examined associations between a large set of sleep variables (polysomnography, actigraphy, and questionnaires) and cardiovascular disease risk factors and changes in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio over approximately 5 years using high-dimensional regression. We investigated the modifying effect of sleep on the associations between cardiovascular disease risk factors and kidney function.

Results: Sleep metrics predicted kidney function decline only among individuals with baseline CKD. Among this group, eGFR decline was associated with decreased stage N3 sleep (0.32 mL/min/1.73 m2/y per 10% decrease in N3, p < .001); increased actigraphy napping frequency (beta: -0.20 [-0.30, -0.07]); and actigraphy sleep midpoint trajectory in early morning (ref: midnight, beta: -0.84 [-1.19, -0.50]). Urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio increase was associated with high wake bouts trajectory (ref: low, beta: 0.97 [0.28, 1.67]) and increased sleep-related hypoxemia (oxygen saturation %time<90 [≥5%], beta: 2.17 [1.26, 3.08]). Sleep metrics--N3 sleep, naps, and midpoint trajectory--significantly modified associations between hemoglobin A1C and eGFR decline.

Conclusions: Reduced deep sleep, daytime napping, increased wake bouts, delayed sleep rhythms, and overnight hypoxemia are associated with longitudinal kidney function decline, with effects most apparent in individuals with CKD. Deep sleep, napping, and sleep timing modified the association between hemoglobin A1C and kidney function.

Keywords: Albuminuria; Chronic kidney disease; Diabetes; Sleep apnea; Sleep duration; Sleep health.

MeSH terms

  • Albumins
  • Atherosclerosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Hemoglobins
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep


  • Hemoglobins
  • Albumins