Racial/ethnic variations in inflammatory markers: exploring the role of sleep duration and sleep efficiency

Heather R. Farmer, Danica C. Slavish, John Ruiz, Jessica R. Dietch, Camilo J. Ruggero, Brett A. Messman, Kimberly Kelly, Marian Kohut, Daniel Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Individuals from minoritized racial/ethnic groups have higher levels of circulating inflammatory markers. However, the mechanisms underlying these differences remain understudied. The objective of this study was to examine racial/ethnic variations in multiple markers of inflammation and whether impaired sleep contributes to these racial/ethnic differences. Nurses from two regional hospitals in Texas (n = 377; 71.62% White; 6.90% Black; 11.14% Hispanic, 10.34% Asian; mean age = 39.46; 91.78% female) completed seven days of sleep diaries and actigraphy to assess mean and variability in total sleep time (TST) and sleep efficiency (SE). On day 7, blood was drawn to assess 4 inflammatory markers: C-reactive protein (CRP), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α). Results from regression models showed differences in inflammatory markers by race/ethnicity, adjusting for age and gender. The associations between sleep parameters and inflammatory markers also varied by race/ethnicity. Among White nurses, lower mean and greater variability in actigraphy-determined TST and greater variability in diary-determined TST were associated with higher levels of IL-6. Among Black nurses, lower mean diary-determined SE was associated with higher levels of IL-6 and IL-1β. Among Hispanic nurses, greater diary-determined mean TST was associated with higher CRP. Among Asian nurses, greater intraindividual variability in actigraphy-determined SE was associated with lower CRP. Among nurses, we did not find racial/ethnic disparities in levels of inflammation. However, analyses revealed differential relationships between sleep and inflammatory markers by race/ethnicity. Results highlight the importance of using a within-group approach to understand predictors of inflammatory markers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)855-867
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Disparities
  • Inflammation
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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