COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Ethnicity, sleep, mood, and illumination in postmenopausal women.

BMC Psychiatry 2004 April 8
BACKGROUND: This study examined how ethnic differences in sleep and depression were related to environmental illumination and circadian rhythms.

METHODS: In an ancillary study to the Women's Health Initiative, 459 postmenopausal women were recorded for one week in their homes, using wrist monitors. Sleep and illumination experience were estimated. Depression was self-rated with a brief adjective check list. Affective diagnoses were made using the SCID interview. Sleep disordered breathing was monitored with home pulse oximetry.

RESULTS: Hispanic and African-American women slept less than European-American women, according to both objective recordings and their own sleep logs. Non-European-American women had more blood oxygen desaturations during sleep, which accounted for 26% of sleep duration variance associated with ethnicity. Hispanic women were much more depressed. Hispanic, African-American and Native-American women experienced less daily illumination. Less daily illumination experience was associated with poorer global functioning, longer but more disturbed sleep, and more depression.

CONCLUSIONS: Curtailed sleep and poor mood were related to ethnicity. Sleep disordered breathing was a factor in the curtailed sleep of minority women. Less illumination was experienced by non-European-American women, but illumination accounted for little of the contrasts between ethnic groups in sleep and mood. Social factors may be involved.

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