The mediation of racial differences in hypertension by sleep characteristics: Chicago area sleep study

Laura J. Rasmussen-Torvik*, Peter John D. De Chavez, Kiarri N. Kershaw, Samantha E. Montag, Kristen L. Knutson, Kwang Youn A. Kim, Phyllis C. Zee, Mercedes R. Carnethon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Racial disparities in hypertension prevalence in the United States are established. Given our understanding of racial and ethnic disparities in sleep characteristics and demonstrated associations between sleep characteristics and hypertension, we tested whether sleep characteristics mediated racial disparities in hypertension. METHODS Analyses were performed in the Chicago Area Sleep Study, a population- based cohort study of 154 Blacks, 128 Whites, 103 Hispanics, and 109 Asians without obstructive sleep apnea. Participants underwent 7 days of wrist actigraphy monitoring. Algorithms were used to determine sleep duration and sleep maintenance (the percent of sleep in the sleep period). Hypertension was determined as systolic blood pressure >140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure >90 mm Hg or the use of antihypertensive medications. We estimated sample prevalence ratios for hypertension before and after adjustment for sleep characteristics and also conducted mediation analysis. RESULTS The sample prevalence of hypertension was highest in Blacks (36%), followed by Hispanics (14%), Asians (8%), and Whites (5%). The sample prevalence ratio for hypertension for Blacks vs. Whites was 5.52 (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.36, 13.23) after adjusting for age, sex, and education. Adjustment for sleep duration had no influence on the effect estimate, but adjustment for sleep maintenance attenuated the sample prevalence ratio to 4.55 (95% CI: 1.91, 11.14). Sleep maintenance mediated 11.4% of the difference in hypertension prevalence between Blacks and Whites in this sample. CONCLUSIONS Sleep maintenance mediated a small but significant portion of the disparity in hypertension between Blacks and Whites. Future research should investigate the mechanisms underlying these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1353-1357
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2016


  • Blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Mediation
  • Racial disparities
  • Sleep maintenance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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