Individual Differences in Habitual Short Sleep Duration and Dysfunction:Subjective Health Versus Objective Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Paula G. Williams, Steven D. Barger, Brian J. Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The adverse health effects of short sleep duration (i.e., six or fewer hours per night) are well established, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and related mortality. However, there is heterogeneity in perceived sleep need among habitual short sleepers (HSS), with a sizable minority reporting no sleep-related daytime dysfunction. It has not been determined whether health risk associated with short sleep duration is consistent across individuals with and without reported dysfunction. The current study examined self-rated health (SRH), previously demonstrated to predict CVD risk, and objective CVD risk among HSS with and without reported dysfunction in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Method: Participants were adults age 40–79 in the 2005–2006 and 2007–2008 NHANES cycles.Assessments included the single item SRH (poor to excellent), self-reported average sleep duration, and selfreported daytime sleep-related dysfunction. Ten-year atherosclerotic CVD and high lifetime CVD risk ($39%) were calculated using previously validated algorithms. Results: HSS with no reported dysfunction rated their overall health significantly better than those with reported dysfunction; however, the “no dysfunction” HSS group evidenced modestly, though significantly, higher 10-year CVD risk compared with their dysfunction-reporting counterparts. High lifetime CVD risk, including younger adults age 20–39, was slightly higher for persons not reporting dysfunction, with the exception of short sleepers at the highest level of dysfunction who had the highest prevalence of high lifetime risk. Conclusions: Findings suggest that the absence of perceived sleep-related dysfunction does not confer lower CVD risk, despite higher SRH

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-596
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021


  • cardiovascular disease risk
  • daytime dysfunction
  • habitual short sleep
  • self-rated health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Individual Differences in Habitual Short Sleep Duration and Dysfunction:Subjective Health Versus Objective Cardiovascular Disease Risk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this