Poor sleep health and its association with mental health, substance use, and condomless anal intercourse among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men

Dustin T. Duncan, William C. Goedel, Kenneth H. Mayer, Steven A. Safren, Joseph J. Palamar, Daniel Hagen, Girardin Jean-Louis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of poor sleep health (ie, poor sleep quality and short sleep duration) in a sample of men who have sex with men (MSM). In addition, this study examined whether poor sleep health was associated with depressive symptoms, substance use, and sexual risk behaviors in this sample. Design Cross-sectional survey. Participants Broadcast advertisements were placed on a popular smartphone application for MSM in January 2016 to recruit users in the London metropolitan area (n = 202) to complete a Web-based survey, which included validated measures of sleep quality and duration. Measurements Poor sleep quality was defined based on self-report as very or fairly bad. Short sleep duration was defined as less than 7 hours each night. Regression models were used to assess associations between sleep variables and self-reported depressive symptoms, substance use, and sexual risk behaviors. Results About one-third (34.6%) of the respondents reported poor sleep quality and almost half (43.6%) reported sleeping less than 7 hours every night. Several poor sleep health variables were independently associated with depressive symptoms, substance use (eg, use of alcohol or marijuana), and condomless anal intercourse. For example, typical nightly sleep duration of less than 7 hours was associated with condomless receptive anal intercourse with a higher number of sexual partners (incidence rate ratio, 2.65; 95% confidence interval: 1.63-4.30; P < .001). Conclusion Sleep health promotion interventions should be developed for MSM, which may promote positive mental health as well as reduce substance use and sexual risk behaviors in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-321
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Depressive symptoms
  • Gay men's health
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Poor sleep health
  • Sexual risk behaviors
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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