Purpose: While the concept of "sleep health" has only recently been defined, how it relates to both subjective and objective sleep parameters is yet to be determined. The current study aimed to identify potential indicators of poorer sleep health, from subjective and objective daily sleep characteristics, in normal sleepers.
Participants and methods: Eighty-three individuals aged 18-65 years with no history of sleep disorders, chronic physical or psychiatric illnesses, or substance misuse were recruited from the North of England. Secondary analysis of a series of standardized studies, which included psychometrics, actigraphy, and an in-lab polysomnography (PSG) component, was undertaken. Questions from several psychometric sleep scales were combined to create an aggregate measure of sleep health status. Subjective sleep continuity was assessed by 2-week sleep diary. Objective measures comprised two continuous weeks of actigraphy and two nights of in-lab PSG.
Results: Significant negative correlations were evident between sleep health scores and both diary-derived subjective sleep latency (SL; diary) and actigraphy-derived SL (actigraphy). This was reflected by independent samples t-test between high and low sleep health groups. No relationships between sleep health and PSG parameters were observed. Regression analyses indicated sleep latencies from both the sleep diary and actigraphy as significant predictors, explaining 28.2% of the variance in sleep health.
Conclusion: Perceived increases in SL appear to be a primary indicator of declining sleep health in normal sleepers. The majority of objective sleep parameters, including gross PSG sleep parameters, appear not to be sensitive to sleep health status in normal sleepers. Future research is needed to understand the physical and psychological correlates of sleep health in larger samples.