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Hypertension. 2012 Oct;60(4):929-35. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.112.193268. Epub 2012 Aug 14.

Insomnia with objective short sleep duration and incident hypertension: the Penn State Cohort.

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Sleep Research and Treatment Center, Pennylvania State University College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry H073, 500 University Dr, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.


Insomnia with objective short sleep duration appears to be a biologically more severe phenotype of the disorder. No longitudinal study to date has examined the association of this type of insomnia with incident hypertension using polysomnography. From a random, general population sample of 1741 adults of the Penn State Cohort, 1395 were followed-up after 7.5 years, and 786 did not have hypertension at baseline. Hypertension was determined by a self-report of receiving treatment for high blood pressure. Chronic insomnia was defined as a complaint of insomnia lasting ≥1 year, whereas poor sleep was defined as moderate-to-severe sleep difficulties. All of the subjects underwent 8-hour polysomnography. Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) was defined as an obstructive apnea/hypopnea index≥5. We used the median polysomnographic percentage of sleep time to define short sleep duration (ie, <6 hours). We controlled for sex, race, age, caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol consumption, depression, sleep-disordered breathing, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and blood pressure in our analyses. Compared with normal sleepers who slept≥6 hours, the highest risk for incident hypertension was in chronic insomniacs with short sleep duration (odds ratio, 3.8 [95% CI, 1.6-9.0]). The risk for incident hypertension in poor sleepers with short sleep duration was significantly increased but became marginally significant after controlling for obesity (odds ratio, 1.6 [95% CI, 0.9-2.8]). Chronic insomnia with short sleep duration is associated with an increased risk for incident hypertension in a degree comparable to sleep-disordered breathing. Objective short sleep duration in insomnia may serve as a useful predictor of the biological severity of the disorder.

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