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Volume 15 No. 09
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Self-Reported Sleep Duration and Pattern in Old Order Amish and Non-Amish Adults

Man Zhang, PhD1; Kathleen A. Ryan, MS1; Emerson Wickwire, PhD2,3; Teodor T. Postolache, MD4,5; Huichun Xu, PhD1; Melanie Daue, BS1; Soren Snitker, MD1; Toni I. Pollin, PhD1; Alan R. Shuldiner, MD1; Braxton D. Mitchell, PhD1,6
1Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; 3Sleep Disorders Center, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; 4Mood and Anxiety Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; 5Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), Aurora, Colorado; 6Geriatrics Research and Education Clinical Center, Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland

Study Objectives:

We hypothesized that sleep duration in the Amish would be longer than in non-Amish.


Sleep duration was obtained by questionnaire administered to Amish individuals (n = 3,418) and from the 2015–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES; n = 1,912). Self-reported sleep duration was calculated as the difference in usual times that the participants went to bed at night and woke up in the morning.


In Amish (43.7 ± 16.7 years) and NHANES (50.0 ± 20.6 years), women had a longer sleep duration than men (P < .0001 in both groups) and sleep was significantly longer in those aged 18–29 years and ≥ 70 years, compared to those aged 30–69 years. Seasonal-adjusted sleep duration was shorter in Amish than that in NHANES (7.8 minutes shorter, age- and sex-adjusted P < .0001). However, Amish were less likely to report sleeping fewer than 7 hours per night (15.4% in Amish versus 20.5% in NHANES, P < .0001). Amish went to bed 80.4 minutes earlier than NHANES and arose 87.6 minutes earlier (age-, sex-, and season-adjusted P < .0001 for both). In the Amish, sleep duration was longer in clerks than in farmers (P < .0001) and was significantly correlated among household members (.15 < r < .62, P < .001), although there was no evidence that this trait was heritable (h2 approximately 0) after adjustment for household.


The lower frequency of short sleepers in the Amish may contribute to the relatively lower risks of cardiometabolic diseases observed in this population.


Zhang M, Ryan KA, Wickwire E, Postolache TT, Xu H, Daue M, Snitker S, Pollin TI, Shuldiner AR, Mitchell BD. Self-reported sleep duration and pattern in old order amish and non-amish adults. J Clin Sleep Med. 2019;15(9):1321–1328.

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