Associations between fears related to safety during sleep and self-reported sleep in men and women living in a low-socioeconomic status setting

Arron T. L. Correia, Philippa E. Forshaw, Laura C. Roden, Gosia Lipinska, H. G. Laurie Rauch, Estelle V. Lambert, Brian T. Layden, Sirimon Reutrakul, Stephanie J. Crowley, Amy Luke, Lara R. Dugas, Dale E. Rae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Downloads (Pure)


South Africans living in low socioeconomic areas have self-reported unusually long sleep durations (approximately 9–10 h). One hypothesis is that these long durations may be a compensatory response to poor sleep quality as a result of stressful environments. This study aimed to investigate whether fear of not being safe during sleep is associated with markers of sleep quality or duration in men and women. South Africans (n = 411, 25–50 y, 57% women) of African-origin living in an urban township, characterised by high crime and poverty rates, participated in this study. Participants are part of a larger longitudinal cohort study: Modelling the Epidemiologic Transition Study (METS)–Microbiome. Customised questions were used to assess the presence or absence of fears related to feeling safe during sleep, and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Insomnia Severity Index were used to assess daytime sleepiness, sleep quality and insomnia symptom severity respectively. Adjusted logistic regression models indicated that participants who reported fears related to safety during sleep were more likely to report poor sleep quality (PSQI > 5) compared to participants not reporting such fears and that this relationship was stronger among men than women. This is one of the first studies outside American or European populations to suggest that poor quality sleep is associated with fear of personal safety in low-SES South African adults.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3609
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date13 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit


This work was supported by the National Institute of Health (R01 DK111848 and R01 HL148271) and the National Research Foundation of South Africa (Grant Nos. 122508, PMDS22070431438 and PMDS22052514438).


  • Insomnia
  • Sleep environment
  • Sleep quality
  • Personal safety


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations between fears related to safety during sleep and self-reported sleep in men and women living in a low-socioeconomic status setting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this