Date of Award

Summer 8-27-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition Science and Dietetics


Hruska, Bryce

Subject Categories

Life Sciences | Nutrition


Physiological factors such as metabolism, circadian rhythms, and hormone production play an important role in sleep quality. The physiology of sleep is significantly modified by externally mediated factors, such as socioeconomic status and the quality of nutrition. Sleep actigraphy records from a sub-sample of school-age participants in the Syracuse Lead Study (n=125) were used to evaluate the impact of diet on sleep quality and efficiency. Sleep duration, efficiency, latency, and fragmentation were extracted from actigraphy records over 5 consecutive weekdays. Healthy Eating Index 2015 (HEI-2015) scores and component sub-scores were calculated from two 24-hour recalls per participant collected through the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour Dietary Assessment Tool (ASA 24) and completed within one week of actigraphy on a consecutive Friday and Saturday for each participant.As to be expected, sleep efficiency and fragmentation showed strong associations with sleep duration. No significant correlations in sleep parameters were observed with total HEI score. The HEI sub-scores for saturated fat (r = 0.200, p = 0.026) and sodium (r = 0.191, p = 0.033) had a positive relationship with sleep efficiency. Additionally, total fat was positively correlated with fragmentation (r = 0.233, p = 0.009) and total activity (r = 0.191, p = 0.032). Greater energy intake (kcals) appeared alongside increased fragmentation (r = 0.179, p = 0.046). SES had a significant effect on duration (r = 0.1814 p = 0.040), efficiency (r = 0.208, p = 0.020), fragmentation (r = -0.253, p = 0.004) and total activity (r = -0.200, p = 0.026). Nutrient analysis from dietary recalls found total fat (r = -0.153, p = 0.044) and sodium (r = -0.177, p = 0.024) showed an inverse relationship with sleep efficiency, while total fat (r = 0.232, p = 0.005). and magnesium (r = 0.190, p = 0.017) were positively correlated with fragmentation. There were also differences between race, with Black participants found be living at a lower SES (r = -0.208, p = 0.010). White participants in the study, however, experienced greater sleep fragmentation (p = 0.030), lower HEI total scores (p = 0.007) and higher saturated fat intake (p = 0.003). Hierarchical linear regression was used to determine if these variables explained a statistically significant amount of variance in sleep efficiency and fragmentation after accounting for the fixed factors of socioeconomic status (SES), age, race, gender, and body mass index. The fixed factors accounted for 7.7% of the variability in sleep efficiency, with dietary factors controlling an additional 5.7%; the overall contribution to sleep efficiency was not statistically significant [R2=0.134, F (12,112) =1.45, p=0.154). Fixed factors accounted for 12.9% of the total variation in sleep fragmentation, with diet contributing to an additional 9.8%. The overall model contribution to sleep fragmentation is statistically significant [R2=0.226, F (12, 112) =2.73, p=0.003]. Overall, diet contributed to sleep less than race and SES, with saturated fat being the most significant dietary component.


Open Access

Included in

Nutrition Commons



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