DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djad210 ISSN: 0027-8874

Actigraphy-derived measures of sleep and risk of prostate cancer in the UK Biobank

Joshua R Freeman, Pedro F Saint-Maurice, Eleanor L Watts, Steven C Moore, Marissa M Shams-White, Dana L Wolff-Hughes, Daniel E Russ, Jonas S Almeida, Neil E Caporaso, Hyokyoung G Hong, Erikka Loftfield, Charles E Matthews
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology



Studies of sleep and prostate cancer are almost entirely based on self-report, with limited research using actigraphy. Our goal was to evaluate actigraphy-measured sleep and prostate cancer and to expand on findings from prior studies of self-reported sleep.


We prospectively examined 34 260 men without a history of prostate cancer in the UK Biobank. Sleep characteristics were measured over 7 days using actigraphy. We calculated sleep duration, onset, midpoint, wake-up time, social jetlag (difference in weekend-weekday sleep midpoints), sleep efficiency (percentage of time spent asleep between onset and wake-up time), and wakefulness after sleep onset. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate covariate-adjusted hazards ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


Over 7.6 years, 1152 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Sleep duration was not associated with prostate cancer risk. Sleep midpoint earlier than 4:00 am was not associated with prostate cancer risk, though sleep midpoint of 5:00 am or later was suggestively associated with lower prostate cancer risk but had limited precision (earlier than 4:00 am vs 4:00-4:59 am HR = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.87 to 1.16; 5:00 am or later vs 4:00-4:59 am HR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.57 to 1.10). Social jetlag was not associated with greater prostate cancer risk (1 to <2 hours vs <1 hour HR = 1.06, 95% CI = 0.89 to 1.25; ≥2 hours vs <1 hour HR = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.65 to 1.26). Compared with men who averaged less than 30 minutes of wakefulness after sleep onset per day, men with 60 minutes or more had a higher risk of prostate cancer (HR = 1.20, 95% CI = 1.00 to 1.43).


Of the sleep characteristics studied, higher wakefulness after sleep onset—a measure of poor sleep quality—was associated with greater prostate cancer risk. Replication of our findings between wakefulness after sleep onset and prostate cancer are warranted.

More from our Archive