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Impact of Mandatory Wake Time on Sleep Timing, Sleep Quality and Rest-Activity Cycle in College and University Students Complaining of a Delayed Sleep Schedule: An Actigraphy Study

Authors Moderie C, Van der Maren S, Paquet J, Dumont M

Received 23 March 2020

Accepted for publication 27 May 2020

Published 25 June 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 365—375


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sutapa Mukherjee

Christophe Moderie,1,2 Solenne Van der Maren,1,3 Jean Paquet,1 Marie Dumont1,4

1Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine, Sacre-Coeur Hospital, CIUSSS-NIM, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; 2Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; 3Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; 4Department of Psychiatry, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Correspondence: Marie Dumont
Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine (J-5185), Sacre-Coeur Hospital of Montreal, CIUSSS-NIM, 5400 Boul. Gouin Ouest, Montreal, QC H4J 1C5, Canada
Tel +1 514 338 2222, x-2246
Fax +1 514 338 2531

Background: Individuals complaining of a delayed sleep schedule are expected to have shorter sleep duration and lower sleep quality when they must comply with morning obligations. The changes in the sleep schedule imposed by morning obligations may in turn decrease the stability and amplitude of their rest-activity cycle. These expectations were only partially supported in previous studies, possibly due to poor differentiation between days with mandatory or free wake times.
Participants: Fourteen college/university students (8 women) with a complaint of a late sleep schedule and a bedtime after midnight were compared to fourteen controls with an earlier sleep schedule and no complaint.
Methods: During a week of 24-h activity recording, participants specified in their sleep diary whether their wake time was free or determined by an obligation.
Results: The number of nights with mandatory wake times was similar in the two groups. Groups were also similar for sleep duration and sleep quality over the 7 days of recording. Actigraphic sleep efficiency was the same in the two groups for both free and mandatory wake times, but subjective sleep quality decreased on the nights with mandatory wake time in both groups. On the nights with mandatory wake time, delayed participants had shorter sleep episodes and less total sleep time than controls. Rest-activity cycle amplitude was lower in the delayed group whether wake time was free or mandatory.
Conclusion: Sleep duration and total sleep time differed between the two groups only when wake time was mandatory. Prior to mandatory wake times, delayed participants kept the same bedtime and shortened their sleep; sleep latency and sleep efficiency were preserved but subjective sleep quality and alertness on awakening decreased compared to nights with free wake time. Lower amplitude of the rest-activity cycle in delayed subjects may reflect lifestyle differences compared to control participants.

Keywords: sleep schedule, circadian sleep disorders, chronotype, ambulatory recordings, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, social jetlag

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