Sleep Quality Found to Actually Improve With Age

Those over 80 complain the least about sleep disturbances and daytime fatigue

THURSDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to popular belief, sleep quality, as measured by sleep disturbances and daytime fatigue, actually improves with age, according to a study published in the March issue of SLEEP.

Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues analyzed data from 155,877 participants who responded to questions related to Self-Reported Sleep Disturbance (SLEEPDIST) and Self-Reported Tiredness/Lack of Energy (TIREDNESS) surveys. Respondents were grouped as either reporting a complaint less than six nights/days or reporting a complaint six or more nights/days over a two-week period.

The researchers found that, across all age groups, women reported more SLEEPDIST and TIREDNESS. Poor general health, mild depressed mood, and moderate/severe depressed mood were associated with SLEEPDIST and TIREDNESS. Both SLEEPDIST and TIREDNESS declined across the life span, with fewest complaints in respondents older than 80 years of age. In men, SLEEPDIST declined in respondents age 18 to 54 years of age, rose slightly, and then declined again after age 59. The pattern was similar for women, except a more marked rise in SPEEPDIST was observed from age 40 to 59 years. The pattern was similar for TIREDNESS.

"Advancing age was not associated with increased SLEEPDIST or TIREDNESS," the authors write. "These results suggest that the often-reported increase in sleep problems with age is a nonlinear phenomenon, mediated by factors other than physiologic aging."

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