The impact of prior day sleep and physical activity on the cortisol awakening response

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kari Eddington (Creator)
Suzanne Vrshek-Schallhorn, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director (Creator)
Laurie Wideman, Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: The cortisol awakening response (CAR) describes the increase in cortisol within the first 30–60 min after waking from nocturnal sleep, and is a common biomarker used within psychoneuroendocrinology, but the effect of sleep on the CAR is currently unclear. A previous study suggested that reported discrepancies may be due to other lifestyle behaviors such as physical activity; given the role of the CAR in energy regulation and preparation for the day, it is theoretically plausible that activity level would influence the CAR. However, no study has yet utilized objective monitoring of day-to-day sleep and physical activity to investigate potential effects on the CAR. This study aimed to test the hypotheses that either sleep duration or sleep quality would interact with the prior 24 h' physical activity to predict the CAR on the following morning. Salivary samples were collected from 85 young adults (mean = 19.1 years, SD = 1.89) immediately after waking from nocturnal sleep and again 30 min after waking; two complete and consecutive days were used. Participants wore accelerometers (ActiGraph, wGT3X-BT) throughout this phase of a larger study, which provided objective measures of sleep duration, number of awakenings, and amount of physical activity. Mixed-effects models with post-hoc regions of significance decompositions tested the hypothesized interaction effects. Results demonstrated a significant interaction between prior day sleep duration and physical activity predicting the next day CAR, wherein short sleep duration and high levels of physical activity resulted in an augmented CAR. Although more sleep clearly predicted a smaller next day CAR in main effect, this study provides additional support that sleep duration effects are also moderated by prior day physical activity. Both behavioral factors should be considered when assessing the CAR and the association between the CAR other psychoneuroendocrine outcomes.

Additional Information

Psychoneuroendocrinology, 126
Language: English
Date: 2021
actigraphy, exercise, cortisol awakening response

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