A preliminary study of a composite sleep health score: associations with psychological distress, body mass index, and physical functioning in a low-income African American community

Amy S. DeSantis, Tamara Dubowitz, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Gerald P. Hunter, Matthew Buman, Daniel J. Buysse, Lauren Hale, Wendy M. Troxel

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    2 Scopus citations


    Objectives: Although multiple individual sleep measures (eg, sleep duration, satisfaction) have been linked to a wide range of physical and mental health conditions, scant research has examined how individual sleep dimensions may act independently or additively to influence health. The current study investigates associations of 5 sleep dimensions (duration, satisfaction, efficiency, timing, and regularity), analyzed separately and simultaneously, with psychological distress, body mass index, and physical functioning among a low-income, predominantly African American population. Design: We constructed a composite sleep health (SH) score from the sum of scores, representing “good’ and “poor” ranges of 5 sleep measures (range 0-5). Setting: Two low-income, predominantly African American neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Participants: Participants included 738 community-dwelling adults (78% female and 98% black). Measurements: Actigraphy-based measures of sleep duration, regularity, timing, and efficiency, and self-reported sleep satisfaction. Outcomes included self-reported psychological distress, physical functioning, and measured body mass index (BMI). Results: Each 1-unit higher SH score was associated with 0.55-unit lower psychological distress score (range 0-24) and 2.23-unit higher physical functioning score. Participants with at least 2, 3, or 4 sleep dimensions in the “healthy” range, vs fewer, had lower psychological distress scores. Greater sleep satisfaction was associated with higher physical functioning, and longer sleep duration was associated with lower physical functioning. Neither the composite SH score nor any of the individual sleep dimensions were associated with BMI. Conclusions: Assessing multiple sleep dimensions may provide a more comprehensive understanding of associations of sleep with psychological distress than assessing any single sleep dimension. Although no sleep measures were related to BMI in the current sample, analyses should be replicated in other samples to determine generalizability.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalSleep Health
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



    • Actigraphy
    • Physical functioning
    • Psychological distress
    • Sleep health score

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Behavioral Neuroscience

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