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Stress, Sleep and Arterial Stiffness

  • Study HIC#:1509016496
  • Last Updated:07/15/2021

Arterial stiffness is the earliest indicator of risk for hypertension, which is a leading cause of stroke and heart attack. In this study we will be examining the effect of sleep quality and daily stress experiences on arterial stiffness throughout the day. A group of study participants will then be selected for a 3 night stay on the hospital research unit. During this stay we will look at how the amount of sleep a person gets at night can influence the effect that a brief mental stress task has on arterial stiffness.

  • Age21 years and older
  • GenderBoth
  • Start Date11/12/2016
  • End Date11/01/2020

Trial Purpose and Description

We propose to pair a well-tested electronic diary to capture momentary psychological stress and a range of related factors, with a recently developed ambulatory device for the measurement of momentary arterial stiffness (AS), an approach that we have tested in a pilot investigation. Using these technologies together, we will determine the effects of momentary stress on AS in the field. Furthermore, by also utilizing actigraphy to assess sleep duration over 7-days, we will determine the impact that this critical component of daily life has on both AS, and on the relationship of momentary psychological stress to AS. The demonstration of these effects on AS will thus provide targets "stress and sleep " for clinical trials aimed at affecting these targets and thus mitigating their effects on AS. Hypothesis 1a: In the Field, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) of psychological stress will predict momentary AS; we will also explore the effect of EMA average psychological stress on average daytime and nocturnal AS, and AS dipping. Hypothesis 1b: In the Field, actigraphy-assessed sleep duration will predict both, i) the average daytime AS and, ii) the AS response to EMA assessed psychological stress; we will also explore the effect of sleep duration on average nocturnal AS, and on AS dipping. Hypothesis 2: In the Laboratory, partial sleep deprivation (PSD) will be associated with a) higher AS at rest, and b) a greater AS response to laboratory psychological stress, compared to baseline sleep. We will also explore the relationship of inflammation to both resting AS and laboratory stress-related changes in AS, as a possible mechanism by which stress and insufficient sleep affect AS.

Eligibility Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age > 21 years.
  • Not currently treated with antihypertensive medications

Overall Exclusion Criteria:

  • Engaged in shift work (e.g., employed in any work that requires evening or night time shifts)
  • Self-report of:

    • Acute coronary syndrome/coronary revascularization/angina, stroke, atrial fibrillation, frequent ventricular premature contractions, claudication or other clinical atherosclerotic disease;
    • Impaired renal function
    • Hypertension and/or taking anti-hypertensive medications
    • Diagnosis of sleep apnea or insomnia
    • Chronic alcohol/substance use
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Presence of major medical condition (e.g. cancer, COPD); smoking, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes are not exclusions.
    • Currently taking medications known to substantially affect blood pressure (e.g., steroids)
    • Non-English speaking, as participants will be asked to fill out diary information during the ambulatory session – these materials are only in English.

Principal Investigator


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