During weekdays, many of us fail meeting their physiologic sleep need. During weekends, however, when given additional sleep opportunity, homeostatic sleep pressure will typically lead to longer bedtimes, manifesting the cumulative sleep debt. This study aims at examining the prevalence and determinants of sleep debt, as indicated by the presence of ≥ 2 h weekend bedtime prolongation, in a general population.
We studied 257 healthy subjects living in St. Petersburg, Russia. All participants indicated their habitual bedtimes during weekdays and weekends, and completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), Fatigue Severity Scale, Fatigue Impact Scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
One-hundred-three participants (40%) exhibited a relevant sleep debt (≥ 2 h weekend–weekday difference in habitual bedtime). Compared to participants without sleep debt, the frequency of excessive daytime sleepiness (ESS score ≥ 11)—but not of fatigue, impaired sleep quality and mood disturbances—was higher in participants with sleep debt (21% vs. 10%, p = 0.01). Multiple regression analysis revealed younger age, higher ESS and lower body mass index as independent associates of sleep debt.
Sleep debt appeared to be very common among healthy subjects, and independently associated with younger age, higher ESS scores and lower BMI. However, the presence of sleep debt did not have an impact on fatigue or mood, as measured by validated questionnaires.
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Body mass index
Epworth Sleepiness Scale
Fatigue Impact Scale
Fatigue Severity Scale
Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale
Habitual bedtime duration
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
Periodic limb movements during sleep
Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index
Coordinated universal time
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Gavrilov, Y.V., Shkilnyuk, G.G., Konkina, E.A. et al. Frequency and Correlates of Sleep Debt in St. Petersburg. Sleep Vigilance (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41782-020-00091-8
- Habitual bedrest duration
- Daytime sleepiness
- Chronic sleep restriction
- Social jetlag