Sleep Deprivation: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Cardiovascular Risk, Sleep Perceptions, and Sleep Behaviors among College Students Public Deposited

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  • May 14, 2019
  • Benson, India
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology
  • Previous research has shown a correlation between increased levels of inflammatory markers and cardiovascular risk (Danesh et al. 2004). Inflammatory markers are also influenced by an individual’s quality of sleep (Hoevenaar-Blom et al. 2011). These associations are highly important for college students who often experience partial (< 6 hours of sleep each night) or acute (pulling ‘all-nighters’) sleep deprivation. The goals of this research are to 1) investigate how sleep practices affect C-reactive protein (CRP), 2) understand students’ perception of sleep, and 3) examine behaviors preventing optimal sleep. CRP was measured using two dried blood spots collected one week apart, and sleep was assessed over seven days via actigraphy, questionnaire (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and Nap Questionnaire), and ethnographic interviews from 27 undergraduate college students at UNC Chapel Hill. The data indicate that: 1) sleep deprivation results in increased CRP levels, and thus, increases individuals’ cardiovascular risk, 2) the perception of sleep is contingent on other school related factors, and 3) homework and studying are the main reported obstacles to sleep. While current research focuses on the sleep behaviors of older individuals, this thesis adds to the current literature by providing a focused analysis on college students ages 17-22 and the impact that short habitual sleep duration may have on their short- and long-term cardiovascular health.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Funding: Undergraduate Research Consultant Team (UNC Office for Undergraduate Research)
  • Sorensen, Mark
  • Bachelor of Arts
Academic concentration
  • Anthropology
Honors level
  • Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2019
  • English

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