PublicationsThe multidimensionality of sleep in population-based samples
The identification of optimal sleep duration recommendations for the general population has long been an important goal on the public health agenda, as both short and long sleep duration have been linked to unfavourable health outcomes. Yet, sleep is more than duration alone and can be described across multiple domains, such as timing, regularity, satisfaction, alertness, and efficiency. We reviewed observational population-based studies that examined differences in age, sex, and origin across multiple dimensions of sleep. Reviewed literature suggests an increasing prevalence of insomnia symptoms, shorter and less deep sleep in old age. Overall, women report poorer sleep quality than men despite objective measures revealing shorter and more fragmented sleep in men. Minorities generally have poorer quantity and quality of sleep, but multi-ethnic studies have reported mixed results regarding the subjective experience of sleep. In sum, effects of age, sex and origin differ across sleep dimensions, thereby suggesting that the multidimensionality of sleep and how these different aspects interact should be studied across individuals. Studies should include both self-reported measures and objective assessments in diverse population-based samples, as both aspects are important to understand sleep health in the general population. Data-driven descriptions could provide researchers and clinicians with insights into how well individuals are sleeping and offer concrete targets for promotion of sleep health across the population.