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Subjective sleep measurement: comparing sleep diary to questionnaire

Authors Mallinson DC, Kamenetsky ME, Hagen EW, Peppard PE

Received 1 June 2019

Accepted for publication 6 August 2019

Published 11 September 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 197—206

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S217867

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Melinda Thomas

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven A Shea


David C Mallinson, Maria E Kamenetsky, Erika W Hagen, Paul E Peppard

Department of Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA

Correspondence: Paul E Peppard
Department of Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF Building #611A, 610 N. Walnut St, Madison, WI 53726-2397, USA
Tel +1 608 262 2680
Email ppeppard@wisc.edu

Purpose: The sleep diary is the gold standard of self-reported sleep duration, but its comparability to sleep questionnaires is uncertain. The purpose of this study was to compare self-reported sleep duration between a sleep diary and a sleep questionnaire and to test whether sleep-related disorders were associated with diary-questionnaire differences in sleep duration.
Participants and methods: We compared self-reported sleep duration from 5,432 questionnaire-sleep diary pairs in a longitudinal cohort of 1,516 adults. Participants reported sleep information in seven-day sleep diaries and in questionnaires. Research staff abstracted average sleep durations for three time periods (overall; weekday; weekend) from diaries and questionnaires. For each time period, we evaluated diary-questionnaire differences in sleep duration with Welch’s two-sample t-tests. Using linear mixed effects regression, we regressed overall diary-questionnaire sleep duration difference on several participant characteristics: reporting any insomnia symptoms, having sleep apnea, sex, body mass index, smoking status, Short Form-12 Physical Health Composite Score, and Short Form-12 Mental Health Composite Score.
Results: The average diary-reported overall sleep duration (7.76 hrs) was longer than that of the questionnaire (7.07 hrs) by approximately 41 mins (0.69 hrs, 95% confidence interval: 0.62, 0.76 hrs). Results were consistent across weekday- and weekend-specific differences. Demographic-adjusted linear mixed effects models tested whether insomnia symptoms or sleep apnea were associated with diary-questionnaire differences in sleep duration. Insomnia symptoms were associated with a 17 min longer duration on the diary relative to the questionnaire (β=0.28 hrs, 95% confidence interval: 0.22, 0.33 hrs), but sleep apnea was not significantly associated with diary-questionnaire difference. Female sex was associated with greater diary-questionnaire duration differences, whereas better self-reported health was associated with lesser differences.
Conclusion: Diaries and questionnaires are somewhat disparate methods of assessing subjective sleep duration, although diaries report longer duration relative to questionnaires, and insomnia symptoms may contribute to greater perceived differences.

Keywords: comparison, self-reported sleep, sleep log, surveys


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