Sleep patterns and sleep-related factors between caregiving and non-caregiving women

Behav Sleep Med. 2009;7(3):164-79. doi: 10.1080/15402000902976713.


This exploratory study compared objective sleep patterns and sleep-related factors between caregiving and non-caregiving women with sleep impairments, and compared the sleep patterns of the caregivers with their care recipients. Nine women caring for adults with dementia and a comparison sample of 34 non-caregiving women provided three nights of in-home polysomnography (PSG) and self-report questionnaires of sleep quality and physical and emotional well-being. Care recipients' sleep was monitored with actigraphy on the same nights of the caregivers' PSG. Caregivers and non-caregivers' sleep patterns were similar across most PSG-measured parameters. Caregivers perceived more sleep disturbances, but PSG showed minimal differences compared to non-caregivers. Caregivers reported more depressive symptoms, and depression was strongly correlated with longer sleep latency. Caregiver's sleep quantity was highly correlated with the sleep quantity of their care recipient. The results suggest that, in this sample, caregivers' sleep was not significantly different from the non-caregiving women, despite differences in perceptions. Although the sample is small, this exploratory study supports the use of multiple nights of in-home PSG to assess caregiver sleep and provides more data on sleep patterns of female dementia caregivers and their relatives.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Dementia / complications*
  • Depression / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography / methods
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*