Prevalence of sleep problems and quality of life in an older population

Sleep. 2002 Dec;25(8):889-93.


Study objectives: To determine the prevalence of insomnia traits in a population and the effect of these traits on health-related quality of life.

Design: The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study is a population-based study in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

Setting: Participants were interviewed as part of the 5-year follow-up examination (1998-2000) of the Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study. Participants were interviewed at the study office in Beaver Dam, WI, by telephone, or at their residence.

Participants: 2800 adults aged 53-97 years.

Interventions: N/A.

Measurements and results: Participants were asked to what extent they experienced difficulty getting to sleep, waking up at night and having a hard time getting back to sleep, and waking up repeatedly during the night for any reason. A response of "often" or "almost always" was coded as positive for an insomnia trait. The SF-36 was administered to assess mental and physical function. Twenty-six percent of the population reported one insomnia trait, 13% reported two, and 10% reported three. All eight domains and the Mental and Physical Component Summary scores of the SF-36 decreased significantly (F-test for linear trend statistically significant at p<0.0001) as the number of reported insomnia traits increased.

Conclusions: These results indicate that symptoms of insomnia are common among older adults and are associated with a decrease in health related quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm / epidemiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology*