Association between Sleep Duration and 24-Hour Urine Free Cortisol in the MrOS Sleep Study

Madhu N. Rao, Terri Blackwell, Susan Redline, Naresh M. Punjabi, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, Thomas C. Neylan, Katie L. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Context:Short sleep duration is associated with adverse health outcomes, but the mechanisms involved are unknown. It has been postulated that short sleep duration may elevate cortisol levels, but studies have had conflicting results. It is unclear whether these differing findings may be due to methodological issues, such as assessment of sleep duration. Specifically, objective versus subjective methods of measuring habitual sleep duration may account for the conflicting results found in epidemiological studies.Objective:Our goal was to determine whether habitual sleep duration, measured objectively (by actigraphy) and subjectively (by self-report), was associated with 24-hour urine free cortisol (UFC), a measure of integrated cortisol secretion. Our secondary goal was to determine whether slow wave sleep (SWS, determined by polysomnography) was associated with 24-hour UFC.Design/Setting:Cross sectional study of community dwelling older men.Patients/Participants:325 men (mean age = 76.6 years, SD = 5.5) from the Portland site of the MrOS Sleep Study, who underwent 24-hour urine collection, polysomnography, actigraphy and sleep questionnaire.Primary Outcome:24-hour UFC.Results:In this study of community dwelling older men, self-reported sleep duration was inversely related to 24-hour UFC levels. Participants reporting <5 hours of habitual sleep had an adjusted mean 24-hour UFC of 29.8 ug, compared to 28.0 ug in participants reporting >5 to <8 hours of sleep 25.5 ug in those reporting >8 hours of habitual sleep. However, sleep duration determined by actigraphy was not associated with 24-hour UFC in either univariable or multivariable regression models. SWS was not associated with 24-hour UFC.Conclusion:Objectively measured (i.e., actigraphic) sleep duration is not associated with 24-hour UFC in these community dwelling older men. This finding, together with prior studies, suggests that elevated levels of integrated cortisol secretion is not the mechanisms by which short sleep duration leads to adverse health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere75205
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 27 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Association between Sleep Duration and 24-Hour Urine Free Cortisol in the MrOS Sleep Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this