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J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2014 Jan;19(1):36-42. doi: 10.1177/2156587213510005. Epub 2013 Nov 11.

Self-reported sleep difficulties and self-care strategies among rural older adults.

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  • 1Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.


This study examined the use of self-care strategies to address difficulty sleeping among community-dwelling older adults. Data were collected from a series of 18 questionnaires administered to 195 rural African American and white older adults in North Carolina. Participants reported whether they had experienced difficulty sleeping and strategies used to respond to the symptom. The most widely used strategies included ignoring the symptom, staying in bed or resting, and praying. Herb and supplement use were not reported. Ethnicity, income, and education were associated with use of specific self-care strategies for sleep. This variation suggests that older adults may draw on cultural understandings to interpret the significance of difficulty sleeping and influence their use of self-care strategies, including complementary and alternative medicine use. This information may enable health care providers to communicate with the older patients about sleep difficulty strategies to minimize sleep problems.


older adults; self-care; sleep

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