Sleep disturbance in relation to health-related quality of life in adults: the Fels Longitudinal Study

J Nutr Health Aging. 2009 Jun;13(6):576-83. doi: 10.1007/s12603-009-0110-1.


Objective: Sleep disturbances are prevalent problems in the general population. Symptoms of insomnia can impact various physical and mental conditions. Furthermore, sleep disturbances may worsen the quality of life independently of co-occurring medical conditions. In this study, we examined the relationships between self-reported sleep disturbance symptoms and health-related quality of life measures in the Fels Longitudinal Study.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Participants: A total of 397 adults (175 men and 222 women) aged 40 years and older were included in the present study.

Measurements: Three self-reported sleep disturbance measures (difficulty falling asleep, nocturnal awakenings and maintaining sleep, and daytime tiredness) were collected between 2003 and 2006. Health-related quality of life measures were assessed using the Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form (SF)-36. Socio-demographic status (marital status, employment status, and education) and current medical conditions were collected from participants during study visits.

Results: Individuals who reported frequent sleep disturbances showed significantly worse quality of life on all SF-36 subscales examined. The odds ratio (OR) ranged from 1.71 to 18.32 based on symptoms of insomnia across seven SF-36 domains in analyses adjusted for significant covariates influencing quality of life. Participants with severe sleep disturbances (both sleep problems and daytime impairment) showed generally higher odds of reporting poor SF-36 scores (adjusted ORs; 5.88 - 17.09) compared to participants with no problems.

Conclusion: Sleep disturbance is comprehensively and independently associated with poor health-related quality of life in middle-aged and older adults.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Fatigue*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires