Associations between long self-reported sleep, obesity and insulin resistance in a cohort of premenopausal Black and White South African women

Dale E Rae, Paula R Pienaar, Rob H P Henst, Laura C Roden, Julia H Goedecke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: South African women have disproportionately high levels of overweight and obesity, and ethnic differences in obesity and insulin resistance have been observed. We investigated associations between self-reported sleep duration, obesity and insulin resistance in Black and White South African women.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional.

PARTICIPANTS: Black normal-weight (n = 122), Black obese (n = 133), White normal-weight (n = 87) and White obese (n = 63) urban South African women, aged 18 to 45y.

MEASUREMENTS: Participants completed questionnaires capturing self-reported sleep duration, demographic, socioeconomic, medical history and lifestyle information. Body composition and fasting blood glucose and insulin concentrations were measured.

RESULTS: The Black women reported longer sleep than the White women (median: 8 h, interquartile range: 8-10 h v 7(7-8) respectively, P < .001). Adjusted models indicated that women sleeping <7 h sleep were less likely to be obese (P = .035) or insulin resistant (P = .032), while those sleeping >9 h were more likely to be insulin resistant (P = .014) than those sleeping 7 to 9 h. Shorter self-reported sleep was associated with less insulin resistance (<7 h v 7-9 h: P = .018) and longer sleep with more insulin resistance (>9 h v 7-9 h: P = .047) in the Black but not White women.

CONCLUSIONS: Future research that objectively measures sleep duration is needed to confirm these observations and investigate potential factors contributing to the relationship between sleep and risk for non-communicable diseases in different ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-564
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Health
Issue number6
Early online date2 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2018 National Sleep Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group/statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group/statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance/ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity/ethnology
  • Premenopause
  • Risk
  • Self Report
  • Sleep
  • South Africa
  • Time Factors
  • Urban Population/statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult

Cite this