Correlates of Short and Long Sleep Duration: A Cross-Cultural Comparison Between the United Kingdom and the United States: The Whitehall II Study and the Western New York Health Study

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Abstract

The authors examined sociodemographic, lifestyle, and comorbidity factors that could confound or mediate U-shaped associations between sleep duration and health in 6,472 United Kingdom adults from the Whitehall II Study (1997–1999) and 3,027 US adults from the Western New York Health Study (1996–2001). Cross-sectional associations between short (<6 hours) and long (>8 hours) durations of sleep across several correlates were calculated as multivariable odds ratios. For short sleep duration, there were significant, consistent associations in both samples for unmarried status (United Kingdom: adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=1.49, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.15, 1.94; United States: AOR=1.49, 95% CI: 1.10, 2.02), body mass index (AORs were 1.04 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.07) and 1.02 (95% CI: 1.00, 1.05)), and Short Form-36 physical (AORs were 0.96 (95% CI: 0.95, 0.98) and 0.97 (95% CI: 0.96, 0.98)) and mental (AORs were 0.95 (95% CI: 0.94, 0.96) and 0.98 (95% CI: 0.96, 0.99)) scores. For long sleep duration, there were fewer significant associations: age among men (AORs were 1.08 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.14) and 1.05 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.08)), low physical activity (AORs were 1.75 (95% CI: 0.97, 3.14) and 1.60 (95% CI: 1.09, 2.34)), and Short Form-36 physical score (AORs were 0.96 (95% CI: 0.93, 0.99) and 0.97 (95% CI: 0.95, 0.99)). Being unmarried, being overweight, and having poor general health are associated with short sleep and may contribute to observed disease associations. Long sleep may represent an epiphenomenon of comorbidity.

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