Faculty Articles

Sleep Restriction and Delayed Sleep Associate with Psychological Health and Biomarkers of Stress and Inflammation in Women

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Sleep Health





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Study objectives Despite strong associations between sleep duration and health, there is no clear understanding of how volitional chronic sleep restriction (CSR) alters the physiological processes that lead to poor health in women. We focused on biochemical and psychological factors that previous research suggests are essential to uncovering the role of sleep in health. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting University-based. Participants Sixty female participants (mean age, 19.3; SD, 2.1 years). Measurements We analyzed the association between self-reported volitional CSR and time to go to sleep on a series of sleep and psychological health measures as well as biomarkers of immune functioning/inflammation (interleukin [IL]-1β), stress (cortisol), and sleep regulation (melatonin). Results Across multiple measures, poor sleep was associated with decreased psychological health and a reduced perception of self-reported physical health. Volitional CSR was related to increased cortisol and increased IL-1β levels. We separately looked at individuals who experienced CSR with and without delayed sleep time and found that IL-1β levels were significantly elevated in CSR alone and in CSR combined with a late sleep time. Cortisol, however, was only elevated in those women who experienced CSR combined with a late sleep time. We did not observe any changes in melatonin across groups, and melatonin levels were not related to any sleep measures. Conclusions New to our study is the demonstration of how an increase in a proinflammatory process and an increase in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity both relate to volitional CSR, with and without a delayed sleep time. We further show how these mechanisms relate back to psychological and self-reported health in young adult women.



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