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Sleep. 2005 Nov;28(11):1365-76.

Circadian patterns of sleep, sleepiness, and performance in older and younger adults.

Author information

  • 1Sleep and Chronobiology Program, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA. buyssedj@upmc.edu

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE:

To compare circadian patterns of sleep, subjective sleepiness, and psychomotor performance in older and younger adults.

DESIGN:

Controlled experimental laboratory study.

SETTING:

General Clinical Research Center.

PARTICIPANTS:

Healthy older adults (n = 17, mean age 76 years) and healthy younger adults (n = 19, mean age 23 years).

INTERVENTIONS:

Subjects lived for 60 consecutive hours on a 90-minute sleep-wake cycle (30 minutes in bed, 60 minutes awake). Electroencephalographic recordings were conducted during bedrest periods. Self-ratings and psychomotor performance tests were conducted during 60-minute wake periods.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS:

Data were analyzed with cosinor and linear mixed models. Amplitude and phase of the core body temperature rhythm did not significantly differ by age group. Older adults had significantly reduced mean levels and amplitude of rhythms in total sleep time and sleep efficiency and increased mean levels and amplitude of rhythms in sleep latency and wake after sleep onset. Age groups did not differ in mean level of subjective sleepiness, but older adults had reduced amplitude. Older adults had worse overall psychomotor performance, with evidence of larger circadian amplitude in some of these rhythms. Age groups did not differ on the phase position of any rhythm.

CONCLUSIONS:

Older adults had a lower level and smaller circadian variation of sleep propensity compared with younger adults, whereas wakefulness and psychomotor performance rhythms tended to show increased circadian variation among older subjects. These findings likely result from a combination of age-related changes in cortical function, homeostatic sleep mechanisms, and circadian regulation.

PMID:
16335481
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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