Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Howie-Hickey, Erin

Committee Member/Reader

Westerman, Erica

Committee Member/Second Reader

Beaulieu, Jeremy

Committee Member/Third Reader

Plavcan, Joseph


Cardiovascular disease is a rising issue in the United States causing large death rates along with large medical expenses. College students are potentially at risk of CVD due to a lack of knowledge of their health, including cholesterol level. Sleep is an essential biological function which helps with the body’s repair, recovery, conservation of energy and maintains cardiovascular regulation. The purpose of this study was to see if there is a correlation between sleep duration and cholesterol levels in college students. Twenty-seven student participants were recruited from the Exercise is Medicine cohort . In-person assessments were conducted at the HPER building under the supervision of the Exercise Science Research Center. If eligible the participants gave consent and then had a finger prick to collet blood which was ran using an Alere CHOLESTECH LDX® LIPID PROFILE. Sleep was measured by having the participants fill out the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), which provide subjective information on participants regarding their sleep. Participants also wore Actigraph GT9 Accelerometers for a week around their wrist which provided objective information about their sleep duration. Results: Student ages ranged from 19-27 and consisted of 13 males and 14 females. Results showed a positive correlation between longer weekend sleep and Low-Density Lipoprotein levels as well as total cholesterol. In unadjusted results, for every extra hour of weekend sleep there was an increase of 14.3 mg/dL of LDL levels (p-.02). When results were adjusted for age, sex and body mass index. for each additional hour of weekend sleep there was an increase of 16.8 mg/dl of LDL levels (p-.02). Adjusted results also show a positive correlation between accelerometer sleep and total cholesterol. Each additional hour of accelerometer sleep there was as an increase of .2 mg/dl of total cholesterol levels (p-.04). These positive correlations are potentially meaningful, as higher cholesterol levels are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The observed positive correlation may indicate that longer weekend sleep is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in college students.


Sleep Duration, HDL, LDL, Total Cholesterol, Weekend sleep