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PLoS One. 2019 Dec 27;14(12):e0226220. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226220. eCollection 2019.

Objective sleep assessment in >80,000 UK mid-life adults: Associations with sociodemographic characteristics, physical activity and caffeine.

Author information

Faculty of Medical Sciences, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
National Innovation Centre for Ageing, Time Central, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
NIHR Innovation Observatory, Gallowgate, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
National Innovation Centre for Data, School of Computing, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
Department of Neurology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom.



Normal timing and duration of sleep is vital for all physical and mental health. However, many sleep-related studies depend on self-reported sleep measurements, which have limitations. This study aims to investigate the association of physical activity and sociodemographic characteristics including age, gender, coffee intake and social status with objective sleep measurements.


A cross-sectional analysis was carried out on 82995 participants within the UK Biobank cohort. Sociodemographic and lifestyle information were collected through touch-screen questionnaires in 2007-2010. Sleep and physical activity parameters were later measured objectively using wrist-worn accelerometers in 2013-2015 (participants were aged 43-79 years and wore watches for 7 days). Participants were divided into 5 groups based on their objective sleep duration per night (<5 hours, 5-6 hours, 6-7 hours, 7-8 hours and >8 hours). Binary logistic models were adjusted for age, gender and Townsend Deprivation Index.


Participants who slept 6-7 hours/night were the most frequent (33.5%). Females had longer objective sleep duration than males. Short objective sleep duration (<6 hours) correlated with older age, social deprivation and high coffee intake. Finally, those who slept 6-7 hours/night were most physically active.


Objectively determined short sleep duration was associated with male gender, older age, low social status and high coffee intake. An inverse 'U-shaped' relationship between sleep duration and physical activity was also established. Optimal sleep duration for health in those over 60 may therefore be shorter than younger groups.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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