Turco M, Corrias M, Chiaromanni F, Bano M, Salamanca M, Caccin L, Merkel C, Amodio P, Romualdi C, De Pittà C, Costa R, Montagnese S.
The assessment of diurnal preference, or the preferred timing of sleep and activity, is generally based on comprehensive questionnaires such as the Horne-Östberg (HÖ). The aim of the present study was to assess the reliability of a subject’s self-classification as extremely morning (Self-MM), more morning than evening (Self-M), more evening than morning (Self-E) or extremely evening (Self-EE) type, based on the last question of the HÖ (Self-ME). A convenience sample of 461 subjects [23.8 ± 4.7 years; 322 females] completed a full sleep-wake assessment, including diurnal preference (HÖ), night sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, PSQI), daytime sleepiness (Karolinska Sleepiness Scale, KSS), and habitual sleep-wake timing (12 d sleep diaries; n = 296). Significant differences in HÖ total score were observed between Self-ME classes, with each class being significantly different from neighboring classes (p < 0.0001). Significant differences in sleep-wake timing (bed time, try to sleep and sleep onset, wake up, and get up time) were observed between Self-ME classes. Such differences were maintained when sleep-wake habits were analysed separately on work and free days, and also in a smaller group of 67 subjects who completed the Self-ME as a stand-alone rather than as part of the original questionnaire. Significant differences were observed in the time-course of subjective sleepiness by Self-ME class in both the large and the small group, with Self-MM and Self-M subjects being significantly more alert in the morning and sleepier in the evening hours compared with their Self-E and Self-EE counterparts. Finally, significant differences were observed in night sleep quality between Self-ME classes, with Self-EE/Self-E subjects sleeping worse than their Self-MM/Self-M counterparts, and averaging just over the abnormality PSQI threshold of 5. In conclusion, young, healthy adults can define their diurnal preference based on a single question (Self-ME) in a way that reflects their sleep-wake timing, their sleepiness levels over the daytime hours, and their night sleep quality. Validation of the Self-ME across the decades and in diseased populations seems worthy.
Chronotype; diurnal preference; self-assessment; single question