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Int J Public Health. 2015 Sep;60(6):643-50. doi: 10.1007/s00038-015-0682-y. Epub 2015 May 15.

How well does Europe sleep? A cross-national study of sleep problems in European older adults.

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HeDeRa (Health and Demographic Research), Department of Sociology, Ghent University, Korte Meer 5, 9000, Ghent, Belgium,



In this study, we aim to provide insight into the socio-demographic, family-related and socio-economic determinants of sleep problems in European older adults.


Data from the Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe (2011/2012) were used to perform multilevel logistic regression analyses on whether one has been bothered by sleep problems for at least 6 months. The final sample consisted of 54,722 respondents aged 50 and older from 16 countries.


Prevalence rates varied from 16.6% in Denmark and Italy to 31.2% in Poland. The odds ratio of 2.014 confirmed a higher likelihood of sleep problems in women. People aged 60-69 (OR 0.898) reported less sleep problems than people between 50 and 59 years old. Finally, marriage compared to divorce and widowhood and having a higher socio-economic status were associated with less sleep problems.


This study confirms sleep problems to be quite prevalent in the European older population. Increased awareness of the importance of sleep for health is needed, as well as further cross-national comparative research to explain the existing cross-country variation in sleep problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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