Technologically sensed social exposure related to slow-wave sleep in healthy adults

Maryam Butt, Taha B.M.J. Ouarda, Stuart F. Quan, Alex (Sandy) Pentland, Inas Khayal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study is to understand the relationship between automatically captured social exposure and detailed sleep parameters of healthy young adults. Methods: This study was conducted in a real-world setting in a graduate-student housing community at a US university. Social exposure was measured using Bluetooth proximity sensing technology in mobile devices. Sleep was monitored in a naturalistic setting using a headband sleep monitoring device over a period of 2 weeks. The analysis included a total of 11 subjects (6 males and 5 females) aged 24–35 (149 subject nights). Results: Slow-wave sleep showed a significant positive correlation (Spearman’s rho = 0.51, p < 0.0001) with social exposure, whereas light non-REM (N1 + N2) sleep and wake time were found to be negatively correlated (rho = −0.25, p < 0.01; rho = −0.21, p < 0.01, respectively). The correlation of median slow-wave sleep with median social exposure per subject showed a strong positive significance (rho = 0.88, p < 0.001). On average, within subjects, following day’s social exposure was higher when (slow-wave NREM + REM) percentage was high (Wilcoxon sign-ranked test, p < 0.05). Conclusions: Subjects with higher social exposure spent more time in slow-wave sleep. Following day’s social exposure was found to be positively affected by previous night’s (slow-wave NREM + REM) percentage. This suggests that sleep affects following day’s social exposure and not vice versa. Capturing an individual’s dynamic social behavior and sleep from their natural environment can provide novel insights into these relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
JournalSleep and Breathing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Naturalistic
  • REM sleep
  • Real world
  • Slow-wave sleep
  • Social exposure
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Clinical Neurology


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