Sleep and reported daytime sleepiness in normal subjects: the Sleep Heart Health Study

Sleep. 2004 Mar 15;27(2):293-8. doi: 10.1093/sleep/27.2.293.


Study objectives: To describe the distribution of nocturnal sleep characteristics and reports of daytime sleepiness in a large well-defined group of healthy adults.

Design: The Sleep Heart Health Study is a multicenter study examining sleep and cardiopulmonary parameters through nocturnal polysomnography in adults enrolled in geographically distinct cardiovascular cohorts.

Setting: Community setting.

Participants: 470 subjects enrolled in the Sleep Heart Health Study (n = 6440) were selected as a 'normative' group based on screening of health conditions and daily habits that could interfere with sleep.

Measurements and results: Home-based nocturnal polysomnography was obtained on all participants and centrally scored for sleep and respiratory parameters. Demographic and health-related data were obtained and updated at the time of the home visit. Sleep efficiency decreased by 1.6% for each 10 years of increased age. Sleep time decreased by 0.1 hours (6.0 minutes) for each 10-year age increase and was longer in women. The arousal index increased by 0.8 for each 10-year increase in age and was lower by 1.4 in women. Women had a lower mean percentage of stage 1 and stage 2 sleep. Mean percentage of slow-wave sleep was higher in women (by 6.7%). Percentage of slow-wave sleep decreased with increased age for men only (by 1.9% for each 10-year age change).

Conclusions: Data suggest a clear lessening in the quantity and quality of sleep with age that appears to be more rapid in males compared to females.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / diagnosis
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / epidemiology*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires