Sleep deficit has been associated with autonomic imbalance. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of sleep duration on cardiac autonomic activity as determined by heart rate variability (HRV) in young adults.
Method: Heart rate and frequency domain measures of HRV were evaluated from short-term electrocardiographic recordings (5 min each) of 95 medical students (37 women) in the age group of 18 to 22 years. Self reported duration of sleep during the previous month were noted. The data was analysed by grouping and comparing the subjects according to average sleep duration per day with >7hours (n=51) and <7 hours (n=44) as adequate and inadequate sleep respectively.
Results: No difference was found in HRV indices and in heart rate between the sleep groups. The subjects with inadequate sleep had lower HF, HF in normalized units and higher values of LF, LF/HF ratio compared to adequate sleep group.
Conclusion: Sleep deprivation over a month period do not alter cardiac autonomic activity in young adults as assessed by short-term heart rate variability.
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