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Approved Research

Rest-Activity Rhythms, Sleep Disparities, and Healthy Aging

Principal Investigator: Dr Andrea LaCroix
Approved Research ID: 88897
Approval date: January 31st 2023

Lay summary

The primary aim of our study is to identify whether disrupted sleep patterns is associated with being at greater risk for geriatric syndromes. Disrupted sleep patterns include having more disrupted sleep (e.g., waking up at night and/or taking more daytime naps), shifting around sleep schedules, or waking up at night and sleeping during the day. These sleep patterns can be identified based on movement from wearable data from approximately 100,000 study participants. We plan to cluster participants together based on their wearable data to determine whether they have a similar sleep rhythm profiles. Then, we will examine whether these sleep rhythm profiles are consistent with recognized circadian sleep disorders. We will further examine whether these groupings are sensitive to other occupational, socio-behavioral, and demographic factors, such as shift status, rural/urban, nativity, etc. It can be challenging to study the influence of sleep rhythms, since each sleep measure is highly related with each other, which motivates our decision to develop sleep profiles that can use all these sleep measures at the same time.

This work will promote healthy aging and longevity by identifying whether individuals with greater circadian disruption are at higher risk for perturbed aging. This work will demonstrate whether greater circadian disruption is associated with the presence of other geriatric syndromes, which is a well-recognized phenomenon with significant burden. The presence of one or more geriatric syndromes is associated with lower overall quality of life and increased morbidity and mortality.

A secondary aim of this work to map networks of disrupted sleep and sleep disorders, mood disorders, depression, and declining cognitive performance. There is high overlap in the co-morbidity of mood disorders and sleep disorders, so identifying networks will help account for this phenomenon. Additionally, we will be able to screen for paths that influence the relationship between sleep disorders and cognitive decline. Smaller studies have shown that disrupted sleep rhythms are associated with cognitive decline in older adults. We will confirm this finding in this dataset and extend this work to understand how addressing other earlier, co-morbid diseases may promote healthy cognitive aging.