Salivary cortisol and sleep problems among civil servants

Tidsskriftartikel - 2012


Objective: The present study used information from a field study conducted among 4489 civil servants (70% women) in Denmark in 2007. The purpose was to examine the association between sleep problems and salivary cortisol by using a cross-sectional design with repeated measures in a subsample three-month later. Methods: Sleep problems during the past night and the past 4 weeks were assessed by a self-administered questionnaire on overall sleep quality, disturbed sleep, sleep length and awakening problems. Saliva samples were collected in a single day, using cotton tubes, 30 min after awakening and again at 2000 h. A subsample of 387 participants collected saliva samples three-month later at awakening, +20 min and +40 min after awakening and at 2000 h. We adjusted for confounders related to sampling time, life style and personal characteristics, socioeconomic status and work aspects. Results: Sleep problems during the past four weeks were associated with low morning and evening saliva cortisol concentrations: [3.1% per score of disturbed sleep ( p = .009); and 4.7% per score of awakening problems ( p <.001)]. Whereas sleep problems were not related with slope (the morning to evening change in cortisol levels). Awakening problems predicted lower cortisol (7.51% per score; p = .003) three-month later. Cortisol awakening response (CAR) and slope three-month later were significantly associated with disturbed sleep (7.84% and 8.24%) and awakening problems (6.93). Area under the curve (AUCmorning) increased with disturbed sleep (3.77%).


Hansen ÅM, Thomsen J, Kaergaard A, Kolstad H, Kaerlev L, Mors O, Rugulies RE, Bonde J, Andersen J, Mikkelsen S. Salivary cortisol and sleep problems among civil servants. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2012;37(7):1086-1095.
doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.12.005

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