Intra-individual daily and yearly variability in actigraphically recorded sleep measures: The CARDIA study

Kristen L. Knutson*, Paul J. Rathouz, Lijing L. Yan, Kiang Liu, Diane S. Lauderdale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: To describe the day-to-day and year-to-year variation in sleep characteristics among early middle-aged adults. Design: Participants wore an Actiwatch (Mini Mitter, Inc) for 3 days on two occasions approximately 1 year apart. Participants: N = 669 participants aged 38-50 years from the Chicego site of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) cohort study. Measurements and Results: Sleep measures included sleep duration, sleep latency, sleep efficiency, and time in bed. For each sleep parameter, total variance was decomposed into between-subject variance, within-subject variance from day to day, and within-subject variance from year to year. The standard deviation was celculated from the variance. Analysis yielded a within-subject daily standard deviation (SD) of 1.26 hours and a within-subject yearly SD of 0.39 hours for sleep duration. Daily SD was 30.7 minutes and yearly SD was 6.3 minutes for within-subject variability of sleep latency. Daily SD was 8.4% and yearly SD was 2.7% for within-subject variability of sleep efficiency. Finally, daily SD was 1.31 hours and yearly SD was 0.52 hours for within-subject variability of time in bed. Conclusions: For each of the 4 sleep characteristics, nightly variability was much greater than yearly variability, meaning sleep behavior changes little in one year in this cohort of early middle-aged adults, despite large daily fluctuations. These results have important methodologicel implications, including that single-day measures of sleep may not accurately reflect habitual behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-796
Number of pages4
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007


  • Actigraphy
  • Measurement
  • Variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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