Irregular sleep and event schedules are associated with poorer self-reported well-being in US college students

Dorothee Fischer, Andrew W. McHill, Akane Sano, Rosalind W. Picard, Laura K. Barger, Charles A. Czeisler, Elizabeth B. Klerman, Andrew J.K. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Study Objectives: Sleep regularity, in addition to duration and timing, is predictive of daily variations in well-being. One possible contributor to changes in these sleep dimensions are early morning scheduled events. We applied a composite metric-the Composite Phase Deviation (CPD)-to assess mistiming and irregularity of both sleep and event schedules to examine their relationship with self-reported well-being in US college students. Methods: Daily well-being, actigraphy, and timing of sleep and first scheduled events (academic/exercise/other) were collected for approximately 30 days from 223 US college students (37% females) between 2013 and 2016. Participants rated well-being daily upon awakening on five scales: Sleepy-Alert, Sad-Happy, Sluggish-Energetic, Sick-Healthy, and Stressed-Calm. A longitudinal growth model with time-varying covariates was used to assess relationships between sleep variables (i.e. CPDSleep, sleep duration, and midsleep time) and daily and average well-being. Cluster analysis was used to examine relationships between CPD for sleep vs. event schedules. Results: CPD for sleep was a significant predictor of average well-being (e.g. Stressed-Calm: b = -6.3, p < 0.01), whereas sleep duration was a significant predictor of daily well-being (Stressed-Calm, b = 1.0, p < 0.001). Although cluster analysis revealed no systematic relationship between CPD for sleep vs. event schedules (i.e. more mistimed/irregular events were not associated with more mistimed/irregular sleep), they interacted upon well-being: the poorest well-being was reported by students for whom both sleep and event schedules were mistimed and irregular. Conclusions: Sleep regularity and duration may be risk factors for lower well-being in college students. Stabilizing sleep and/or event schedules may help improve well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberzsz300
Number of pages12
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Intra-individual variability
  • Mental health
  • Mood
  • Public health
  • Sleep and stress
  • Sleep regularity
  • Social jet lag
  • Stress
  • Well-being

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