Young adults are at increased risk for insufficient sleep as they balance school and work obligations and social activities. Approximately 50% of college students report excessive daytime sleepiness and exhibit behaviors and symptoms of chronic sleep restriction such as having difficulty maintaining alertness followed by unintended drowsiness or sleep. Insufficient sleep is suggested to be a risk factor for obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. In a survey of traditional-age college students, sleep disturbances predicted overweight, and 51% of overweight college students (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25) reported poor sleep quality.
Greater body mass index (BMI) and body fat percent measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) have been associated with lower sleep efficiency and greater wake after sleep onset. Additionally, in a study of healthy adults, higher body fat percentage and overweight status were associated with increased rapid-eye movement sleep whereas greater fat-free mass was associated with lower total sleep time, lower sleep efficiency and greater wake-after-sleep onset. It is not clear why overweight individuals who exhibit higher body fat percentage show an increase in REM sleep. One posited explanation is to achieve homeostasis. Energy expenditure is greater during REM sleep than during non-REM (NREM) sleep; therefore, excess energy (fat stores) can be metabolized to a greater degree during REM than NREM. The current literature on bone and sleep focuses on middle age and older adults and is primarily within the context of osteoporosis and osteopenia. One study examined the relationship between bone mineral density and sleep duration and found that women who were short sleepers were more likely to have lower total and all body regional bone mineral density after adjusting for covariates. When the sample was stratified by age (18-44y and 45-80y), this association was only observed in the older group. A recent clinical trial in young adults explored the impact of sleep restriction with circadian disruption on bone markers and concluded that three weeks of circadian disruption with sleep restriction led to decreased bone formation, suggesting that severe sleep restriction may be a risk factor for poor bone health even in younger populations. To our knowledge, the relationship between body composition (body fat percentage and bone mineral density) and sleep architecture (e.g., amount of time spent in NREM and REM sleep stages) has not been studied in the young adult population.
Body composition, measured by DXA, is considered the gold standard for measurement of body composition and can differentiate between fat and fat-free mass. Additionally, in-lab polysomnography (PSG) is considered the gold standard for measuring sleep physiology. Recent advances in technology have allowed for PSG to be accurately and safely measured at-home. An at-home PSG measurement is able to capture all of the typical measures collected during an in-lab session but allows the participant to sleep in their typical environment and thus has greater ecological validity. We aim to examine the relationship between body composition, measured using DXA, and sleep architecture, using at-home PSG, in a sample of young adults.
Applicant must be LSAMP eligible.
The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program at Rutgers University-New Brunswick is a non-medical science program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The program is designed to increase the interest, retention, graduation, and success of students from racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in non-medical (STEM) fields (i.e., Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American/Alaskan, Pacific Islander)
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