Sleep Duration and Cardiovascular Health in Young Men

Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Randall S. Jorgensen


alcohol use, arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, body mass index, cardiovascular health, sleep

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Recent research on sleep has revealed that insufficient sleep has a negative impact on both neurobehavioral and physiologic function. However, studies of middle-aged and older adults have yielded mixed findings as to the direction and strength of the association of sleep duration and cardiovascular health. This study of 130 healthy college-aged men examined the relation of self-reported sleep duration and sleep quality as assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) to carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), established biomarkers of subclinical atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. Linear and curvilinear regression analyses included adjustments for biologic and lifestyle covariates. Regression analyses revealed a J-shaped association of sleep duration and cIMT, in which increased sleep duration was related to decreased cIMT, with uniformly low cIMT levels among those sleeping more than 8.5 hours. Both the PSQI component score for sleep quality and the PSQI total score showed significant J-shaped associations with cIMT, with higher scores (indicating worse sleep) related to increased cIMT, except among a small number of participants reporting the worst sleep. No significant relation between sleep duration or sleep quality and arteriosclerosis as measured by cfPWV was found. BMI was demonstrated to be a significant independent predictor of increased cIMT, even though less than 6 % of participants were obese. Alcohol use was a positive predictor of both cfPWV and cIMT. Interventions aimed at improving sleep, maintaining weight control, and reducing alcohol use appear warranted to improve cardiovascular health outcomes for college males.


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