'Young old' and 'old old' poor sleepers with and without insomnia complaints

J Psychosom Res. 2003 Jan;54(1):11-9. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(02)00543-3.


Objective: Sleep, psychological adjustment, health and insomnia complaints were examined in 277 community-dwelling seniors in order to identify characteristics that distinguish poor sleepers with complaints (likely to seek treatment) and those without complaints (unlikely to seek treatment).

Methods: Two weeks of sleep diaries and other sleep-related measures were collected. Young old (65-74 years) and old old (75+) participants were categorized as: good sleepers, poor sleepers with complaints (complainers), and poor sleepers without complaints (noncomplainers).

Results: In both age groups, complainers had poorer sleep than noncomplainers. Complainers also reported more depressive symptoms and had poorer health than noncomplainers. The old old slept longer each night, but took longer to fall asleep, napped more, and were more likely to complain of insomnia than the young old; otherwise, the young old/old old distinction did not explain sleep differences among the three types of sleepers.

Conclusions: Implications for treating late-life insomnia include greater inclusion of the old old in treatment outcome research and more focus on the development of integrated intervention and prevention strategies that target health, depressive symptoms, and sleep.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology