Study objectives: Research indicates that sleep efficiency below 80% substantially increases mortality risk in elderly persons. The aim of this study was to identify factors that would best predict poor sleep efficiency in the elderly, and to determine whether associations between these factors and sleep efficiency were similar for men and women and for younger and older elderly persons.
Methods: A total of 2468 individuals aged 65-96 years (40.7% men) participated. They were recruited via random generation of telephone numbers according to a geographic sampling strategy. The participants agreed to have health professionals visit their home and to answer structured interview questions. Sleep efficiency was calculated based on interview responses. Descriptive statistics and logistic regressions were conducted.
Results: The factors most strongly associated with sleep efficiency below 80% were pain, nocturia, sleep medication use, and awakening from bad dreams. Some factors varied by sex: women aged 75 years and older or who had an anxiety disorder were more likely to have sleep efficiency below 80%, whereas being single or having painful illness raised the likelihood for men only. Except for sex, all the factors that showed associations with sleep efficiency affected younger and older elderly persons similarly.
Conclusions: Poor sleep efficiency is prevalent among elderly persons. The results shed new light on factors associated with poor sleep efficiency, highlighting the presence of sex differences and that certain factors make no significant contribution, such as typically proscribed sleep hygiene behaviors, mood disorders, and illness in general.
Keywords: aging; mental disorders; pain; physical illness; sleep efficiency; sleep hygiene; sleep medication.
© Sleep Research Society 2019. Published by Oxford University Press [on behalf of the Sleep Research Society].