Poor sleep the night before an experimental stress task is associated with reduced cortisol reactivity in healthy women

Caroline E. Wright, Heiddis B. Valdimarsdottir, Joel Erblich, Dana H. Bovbjerg

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43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sleep disruption is a growing problem that may have serious health effects. As stress-induced increases in cortisol are thought to be a key adaptive process it is important to examine how this response is affected by sleep. The current study investigated the association of four sleep parameters (objective/subjectively measured sleep quality and quantity) and subsequent salivary cortisol reactivity (maximal change from baseline) to an experimental stressor in 53 healthy women. Objective actigraphy monitoring and self-report diaries were used to assess sleep. Results revealed that individuals with lower objective sleep quality (wake percentage during sleep) had a blunted response to the experimental stressor. No associations were found between cortisol reactivity and actigraphy-derived sleep quantity, or either of the self-reported sleep variables. Results are discussed with regard to the possible adverse health effects that may result from poor sleep quality and a blunted cortisol response to stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-327
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume74
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2007

Keywords

  • Actigraphy
  • Cortisol reactivity
  • HPA axis
  • Sleep
  • Stress
  • Stroop task
  • Wake

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