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Cardiovascular responses to stress: a potential pathway linking sleep and cardiovascular disease?

Mezick, Elizabeth Jane (2012) Cardiovascular responses to stress: a potential pathway linking sleep and cardiovascular disease? Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Reports of short sleep are related to incident cardiovascular (CV) disease. Previous data suggest that changes in basal autonomic activity may be one pathway through which habitually short sleep increases CV risk. No studies have examined whether chronic, moderate sleep loss is related to acute, autonomic responses to stressful stimuli in healthy populations. This study compared CV responses to psychological stressors in a group of undergraduate men reporting habitual sleep duration of ≤6 hours per night (n = 37) versus those reporting habitual duration of 7-8 hours per night (n = 42). Wrist actigraphy was used to assess total sleep time and sleep efficiency based on mobility for one week prior to CV stress testing. Laboratory stress tests included two computer tasks (Stroop color-word interference task and a numeric multisource interference task) and preparation and delivery of a speech while heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) were monitored. Reactivity and recovery indices of HR, high-frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV), and BP were created by regressing task and post-task values, respectively, on baseline values. Participants reporting ≤6 hours of sleep per night rated stress tasks as more arousing, and they had delayed HR recovery, compared to those reporting 7-8 hours of sleep; the two groups did not differ in any of the other CV parameters. After adjusting for age, race, body mass index, health behaviors, and psychosocial factors, shorter actigraphy-assessed sleep was related to greater HF-HRV withdrawal during stress tasks, and delayed HR and diastolic BP stress recovery. Decreased actigraphy-assessed sleep efficiency was related to greater HF-HRV withdrawal during stress and delayed HR recovery. Associations between sleep and HF-HRV were independent of respiration rate. Links between sleep and delayed HR recovery were no longer significant after adjusting for actigraphy-assessed daytime naps. In sum, healthy young men with shorter actigraphy-assessed sleep exhibit less vagal inhibition, and prolonged HR and diastolic BP recovery, upon encountering stressful stimuli. Such responses may have pathophysiological CV effects, and, thus, may be one mechanism linking short sleep to CV outcomes.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Mezick, Elizabeth
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMatthews, Karenmatthewska@upmc.eduXYOO
Committee MemberHall, Marticahallmh@upmc.eduMHH1
Committee MemberKamarck, Thomastkam@pitt.eduTKAM
Committee MemberJennings, J. Richardjenningsjr@upmc.eduINJENN
Committee MemberManuck, Stephenmanuck@pitt.eduMANUCK
Date: 27 September 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 17 April 2012
Approval Date: 27 September 2012
Submission Date: 19 July 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 146
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: cardiovascular reactivity
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2012 01:15
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:38


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