Objective: Many studies suggest optimal sleep duration for survival is 7-8h/night. We report the gender-specific independent association of all-cause mortality with nighttime sleep and daytime nap duration in older adults who were followed for up to 19years.
Methods: Between 1984 and 1987, 2001 community-dwelling, mostly retired, adults (1112 women), age 60-96years, answered questions about health, mood, medications, life-style, daytime napping, and nighttime sleep duration. Vital status was confirmed for 96% through July 2001.
Results: At baseline, men reported significantly longer nighttime sleep and daytime napping than women. In both men and women, nighttime sleep <6h was associated with depressed mood and sleep-related medication, and ⩾9h was associated with more alcohol consumption. Napping ⩾30min was associated with prevalent depressed mood, coronary heart disease, and cancer. Of the group, 61% died over the next 19years, at an average age of 85.6years. Mortality risk was lowest among those sleeping 7-7.9h/night in both men and women. Multiple-adjusted analyses showed that increased mortality was associated with nighttime sleep ⩾9h in women (HR 1.51: 95% CI=1.05-2.18), and with daytime napping ⩾30min in men (HR 1.28: 95% CI, 1.00-1.64).
Conclusions: Mechanisms for these differences are unknown.
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