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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Jan 16;74(2):204-210. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gly016.

Sleep Duration and Sleep Disturbances as Predictors of Healthy and Chronic Disease-Free Life Expectancy Between Ages 50 and 75: A Pooled Analysis of Three Cohorts.

Author information

Department of Public Health, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Finland.
Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Sweden.
Faculty of Social Sciences (Health Sciences), University of Tampere, Finland.
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, UK.
Clinicum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland.
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki and Turku, Finland.
Department of Public Health, Copenhagen University, Denmark.



The aim of this study was to examine the associations of sleep duration and sleep disturbances with healthy and chronic disease-free life expectancy (LE) between ages 50 and 75.


Data were drawn from repeated waves of three occupational cohort studies in England, Finland, and Sweden (n = 55,494) and the follow-up ranged from 6 to 18 years. Self-reported sleep duration was categorized into <7, 7-8.5, and ≥9 hours and sleep disturbances into no, moderate, and severe. Health expectancy was estimated with two health indicators: healthy LE based on years in good self-rated health and chronic disease-free LE based on years without chronic diseases. Multistate life table models were used to estimate healthy and chronic disease-free LE from age 50 to 75 years for each category of sleep measures in each cohort. Fixed-effects meta-analysis was used to pool the cohort-specific results into summary estimates.


Persons who slept 7-8.5 hours could expect to live 19.1 (95% CI 19.0-19.3) years in good health and 13.5 (95% CI 13.2-13.7) years without chronic diseases between ages 50 and 75. Healthy and disease-free years were 1-3 years shorter for those who slept less than 7 hours or slept 9 hours or more. Persons who did not have sleep disturbances could expect to live 20.4 (95% CI 20.3-20.6) years in good health and 14.3 (95% CI 14.1-14.5) years without chronic diseases between ages 50 and 75. Healthy and disease-free years were 6-3 years shorter for those who reported severe sleep disturbances.


Sleeping 7-8.5 hours and having no sleep disturbances between ages 50 to 75 are associated with longer healthy and chronic disease-free LE.


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