Childhood health conditions and insomnia among adults in mid-life

Aging Health Res. 2023 Mar;3(1):100124. doi: 10.1016/j.ahr.2023.100124. Epub 2023 Feb 2.


Background: Little is known regarding the influence of childhood health broadly and childhood health conditions specifically on insomnia throughout adulthood.

Methods: Health and Retirement Study (HRS) Baby Boomers born 1954-1965 were investigated. We fitted regression models predicting self-reported insomnia based on twenty-three retrospectively reported specific childhood health conditions (e.g., measles) and general childhood health measures and adjusted for demographics, childhood socioeconomic status, and adult socioeconomic status.

Results: Nearly all the measures of childhood health significantly increased insomnia symptoms in adulthood. In a model where all measures were included, we found that respiratory disorders, headaches, stomach problems, and concussions were particularly strong predictors of insomnia.

Conclusions: Our findings extend past work illustrating the "long arm" of childhood conditions for health, showing that specific health conditions in childhood may indelibly imprint insomnia risk.

Keywords: Aging; Child health; Health and retirement study; Insomnia; Sleep; The life course.