Association between nighttime sleep and napping in older adults

Sleep. 2008 May;31(5):733-40. doi: 10.1093/sleep/31.5.733.


Study objectives: Napping might indicate deficiencies in nighttime sleep, but the relationship is not well defined. We assessed the association of nighttime sleep duration and fragmentation with subsequent daytime sleep.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Participants: 235 individuals (47.5% men, 29.7% black), age 80.1 (2.9) years.

Measurements and results: Nighttime and daytime sleep were measured with wrist actigraphy and sleep diaries for an average of 6.8 (SD 0.7) nights. Sleep parameters included total nighttime sleep (h), movement and fragmentation index (fragmentation), and total daytime sleep (h). The relationship of total nighttime sleep and fragmentation to napping (yes/no) was assessed using logistic regression. In individuals who napped, mixed random effects models were used to determine the association between the previous night sleep duration and fragmentation and nap duration, and nap duration and subsequent night sleep duration. All models were adjusted for age, race, gender, BMI, cognitive status, depression, cardiovascular disease, respiratory symptoms, diabetes, pain, fatigue, and sleep medication use. Naps were recorded in sleep diaries by 178 (75.7%) participants. The odds ratios (95% CI) for napping were higher for individuals with higher levels of nighttime fragmentation (2.1 [0.8, 5.7]), respiratory symptoms (2.4 [1.1, 5.4]), diabetes (6.1 [1.2, 30.7]), and pain (2.2 [1.0, 4.7]). Among nappers, neither sleep duration nor fragmentation the preceding night was associated with nap duration the next day.

Conclusion: More sleep fragmentation was associated with higher odds of napping although not with nap duration. Further research is needed to determine the causal association between sleep fragmentation and daytime napping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Odds Ratio
  • Polysomnography
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Deprivation / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Deprivation / epidemiology
  • Sleep*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Wakefulness