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Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2014;10:89-96. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S56827. Epub 2014 Jan 17.

Measuring quality of sleep and autonomic nervous function in healthy Japanese women.

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Department of Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Shikoku University.
Department of Nursing, Institute of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima Graduate School.
Tokushima Prefectural Minami Health Care Center, Tokushima.
Faculty of Medical Welfare, Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare, Kurashiki, Japan.
Christine E Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between quality of sleep and autonomic nervous functioning in healthy adult Japanese women using three measures, namely, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) for subjective assessment of sleep quality, actigraphy for objective assessment of sleep, and heart rate variability using high frequency and low frequency domains. Participants were 31 healthy women in their 20s to 40s who met the selection criteria, including having normal monthly menstrual periods. Participants were categorized as good or poor sleepers according to their PSQI score. Median correlation coefficients of activity count and high frequency were -0.62 (range -0.43 to -0.84) for good sleepers and -0.45 (range 0.003 to -0.64) for poor sleepers. Good sleepers showed a significantly higher correlation of activity count and high frequency (Z=-2.11, P<0.05). Median correlation coefficients of activity count and low frequency/high frequency were 0.54 (range 0.29-0.73) for good sleepers and 0.41 (range 0.11-0.63) for poor sleepers. The PSQI, actigraphy data, and heart rate variability results showed positive correlations between sleep time as measured by PSQI and duration of inactivity as measured by actigraphy (r=0.446, P<0.05) and sleep time as measured by actigraphy (r=0.377, P<0.05), and a negative correlation between sleep time as measured by PSQI and the correlation coefficients of activity count and high frequency (r=-0.460, P<0.01). These results support the finding that sleep-wake rhythms can be monitored efficiently with actigraphy, providing accurate data that can support the diagnosis of sleeping disorders. Furthermore, actigraphy data were associated with heart rate variability and PSQI findings, but only in subjects who were poor sleepers. Actigraphy is an accurate, efficient, rapid, and inexpensive test for determining objective and subjective sleeping problems, and can also be used in clinical tests for sleep assessment.


Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; actigraph; autonomic nervous system activity; heart rate variability; screening method; women

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