Differences in sleep / wake patterns have been observed between rural and urban populations – in Brazil and India – with strong social and technological contrast (Carvalho 2014, Nag 2012). To our knowledge, there are no such studies on European populations.
The sleep / wake rhythm was recorded by actimetry (MotionWatch8) over 7 days within a rural group of 54 participants (82.1 years, 48% women, AMI Gironde cohort) and an urban group of 49 participants (84.5 years, 51% women, 3Cités Bordeaux cohort). The parameters of the sleep / wake rhythm – time spent in bed, duration of sleep, latency to get up and fall asleep, sleep efficiency, waking time during sleep (WASO), sleep fragmentation, chronotype and acrophase – were compared between the two groups using age-corrected ANCOVA models.
Urban residents have a shorter sleep duration ( p = 0.001) and lower sleep efficiency ( p = 0.001) than rural residents. These differences can be explained by a significantly longer latency to get up ( p = 0.001) and a tendency to fall asleep less quickly ( p = 0.07). Urban individuals also show a later chronotype compared to rural individuals ( p = 0.001). No significant difference was observed between the two groups for the other parameters measured.
These results, which show a difference in sleep / wake rhythm between French rural and urban populations, are in agreement with those observed in more strongly contrasted populations.