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Physiol Behav. 2002 Aug;76(4-5):597-603.

Age-associated difference in circadian sleep-wake and rest-activity rhythms.

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Anhui Geriatrics Institute, The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui, 230022, PR China.


Using actigraphic monitoring of wrist activity, we investigated the sleep and rest-activity patterns of 65 young, middle-aged, old and the oldest subjects in their natural environmental conditions. To assess the effects of age and gender on sleep and circadian rhythms in activity, multivariate analyses were performed. Age significantly affected circadian sleep and rest-activity rhythms. In the old and oldest groups, the actigraphic estimates of "actual sleep time" and "sleep efficiency" decreased significantly. The estimates of "sleep latency," the number of "nighttime awakening," sleep fragmentation and daytime naps significantly increased in the old and oldest groups. Concerning the circadian patterning of rest and activity, the interdaily stability (IS) was similar in the four age groups, while the old and oldest subjects showed significant increases in intradaily variability (IV) and nighttime activity and a decrease in amplitude (AMP). The present study demonstrated weakened and fragmented circadian sleep and rest-activity rhythms during aging. However, no gender-related difference was found.

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