Poor sleep quality and physical performance in older adults

Sleep Health. 2021 Apr;7(2):205-211. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2020.10.002. Epub 2020 Nov 20.


Objectives: This study aimed to examine the association between sleep quality and physical performance among a group of UK community-dwelling older adults, according to sex.

Methods: Sleep quality was assessed using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Physical performance was assessed using a short physical performance battery (SPPB), a timed up-and-go, and a hand-grip strength test.

Results: Of 591 eligible study members, 401 completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. In regression analyses, men who reported poor sleep quality were significantly more likely to have a poor SPPB score, even after adjustment for confounding factors (OR = 2.54, 95% CI 1.10-5.89, P= .03). The direction of the relationship was reversed among women, where those who reported poor sleep were less likely to have a low SPPB score (OR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.15-0.85, P = .02). Poor sleep quality was associated with poorer hand-grip strength among women (regression coefficient = -0.34 z score, 95% CI -0.64, -0.04, P = .03), but this relationship was not observed among men (regression coefficient = 0.28 z score, 95% CI -0.01, 0.57, P = .06).

Conclusion: We found evidence of an association between poor sleep quality and poorer physical performance in older adults, though there appear to be important sex differences.

Keywords: Aging; Grip strength; Muscle; Physical performance; Sarcopenia; Sleep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Physical Functional Performance
  • Sarcopenia*
  • Sleep Quality*