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J Clin Epidemiol. 1991;44(1):5-13.

Sleep patterns in rural elders: demographic, health, and psychobehavioral correlates.

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Hurley Medical Center, Michigan State University, Flint.


Altered sleep patterns, including changes in bedtime, sleep latency, total sleep time, and arising time, have been reported to occur with increasing age. We examine self-reported sleep patterns in a geographically-defined population (n = 3097) of persons aged 65 years and older. Sleep patterns were characterized according to demographic variables, clinical conditions, and physical, psychological, and social functioning. Sleep latency and total hours of sleep increased with age, and older respondents went to bed earlier. The percentage of respondents who reported feeling rested in the morning decreased with age. Women went to bed later, had longer sleep latency, and fewer hours of sleep than men, and were less likely to report feeling rested than men. Sleep patterns were also related to educational attainment, self-perceived health status, physical functional status, psychotropic drug use, alcohol use, depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, and social and recreational activity level. This population study suggests that sleep problems among the elderly are sometimes associated with treatable health conditions and modifiable behavioral and environmental characteristics.

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