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Sleep. 2012 Aug 1;35(8):1115-21. doi: 10.5665/sleep.2000.

Effects of age, gender, and retirement on perceived sleep problems: results from the VISAT combined longitudinal and cross-sectional study.

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  • 1University of Toulouse, CNRS, France.



This study examined the effects of age, gender, and retirement on the subjective frequency of various sleep problems in individuals on a normal work schedule.


Data were taken from the VISAT study (Aging, Health, - Work), which allowed both cross-sectional and longitudinal aspects of age-related changes to be examined.


Various sorts of companies in southern France.


The cohorts comprised 623 male and female, employed and retired, wage earners who were 32, 42, 52, and 62 years old at the time of the first measurement (t1, 1996), and who were seen again 5 (t2) and 10 (t3) years later.




Subjective ratings of the frequency of sleep problems and hypnotic usage were recorded on all 3 occasions, as was the employment status of the individuals. After controlling for age and gender, an effect of decade was observed for difficulty falling asleep and difficulty maintaining sleep, indicating that the frequency of these sleep problems was rated higher in 2006 than in 1996 by people of the same age at both measurement occasions. The perceived frequency of difficulty maintaining sleep, difficulty getting back to sleep, and premature awakening was found to increase up to the mid-50s but to then remain relatively constant, or even in the case of premature awakening to reduce, up to the age of 72. There was also a significant improvement in premature awakening among those individuals who changed from being active to being retired during the study period (n = 111). In contrast, the rated frequency of difficulty falling asleep and hypnotic usage increased fairly linearly over the entire age range.


Sleep complaints were reported early in the workers' lives, and were more frequent with age, but some of them improved after retirement, especially the complaint of premature awakening.


Age; gender; longitudinal study; retirement; sleep

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