Ethnicity, sleep, mood, and illumination in postmenopausal women

Kripke, Daniel F.; Jean-Louis, Girardin; Elliott, Jeffrey A.; Klauber, Melville R.; Rex, Katharine M.; Tuunainen, Arja; Langer, Robert D.
January 2004
BMC Psychiatry;2004, Vol. 4, p8
Academic Journal
Background: This study examined how ethnic differences in sleep and depression were related to environmental illumination and circadian rhythms. Methods: In an ancillary study to the Women's Health Initiative, 459 postmenopausal women were recorded for one week in their homes, using wrist monitors. Sleep and illumination experience were estimated. Depression was self-rated with a brief adjective check list. Affective diagnoses were made using the SCID interview. Sleep disordered breathing was monitored with home pulse oximetry. Results: Hispanic and African-American women slept less than European-American women, according to both objective recordings and their own sleep logs. Non-European-American women had more blood oxygen desaturations during sleep, which accounted for 26% of sleep duration variance associated with ethnicity. Hispanic women were much more depressed. Hispanic, African-American and Native-American women experienced less daily illumination. Less daily illumination experience was associated with poorer global functioning, longer but more disturbed sleep, and more depression. Conclusions: Curtailed sleep and poor mood were related to ethnicity. Sleep disordered breathing was a factor in the curtailed sleep of minority women. Less illumination was experienced by non-European-American women, but illumination accounted for little of the contrasts between ethnic groups in sleep and mood. Social factors may be involved.


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