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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1997 Jan;45(1):1-7.

Sleep disturbance, psychosocial correlates, and cardiovascular disease in 5201 older adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.



To describe the prevalence of self reported sleep disturbances in older men and women and to describe their relationships with health status and cardiovascular disease (CVD).


Cross-sectional study of sleep disturbance, CVD, general health, psychosocial factors, physical function, and use of psychotropic medications.


Participants of the Cardiovascular Health Study, 5201 adults aged 65 and older recruited from a random sample of noninstitutionalized Medicare enrollees in four US communities.


Self-reported sleep disturbances and standardized questionnaires for cardiopulmonary symptoms and diseases, depression, social support, activities of daily living, physical activity, cognitive function, and current medications, spirometry, ECG, echocardiography, and carotid ultrasound.


Women were twice as likely as men to report difficulty falling asleep (30% vs 14%). Daytime sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep, and frequent awakenings increased in prevalence with age. All symptoms were related strongly to depression. Symptoms of daytime sleepiness were also related strongly to poor health and limitations in activities of daily living in men and women. In multivariate analysis, men taking benzodiazepines were likely to report difficulty falling asleep and daytime sleepiness, whereas women taking benzodiazepines reported difficulty falling asleep and waking up too early. After accounting for these factors, the only cardiovascular disease independently associated with sleep disturbances was angina. Men and women with confirmed angina were 1.6 times more likely to report trouble falling asleep. Independent relationships between sleep disturbances and cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, smoking, and diabetes were relatively weak and inconsistent, though smokers were less likely to report frequent awakenings.


Sleep disturbances are relatively common in older men and women and are associated with poor health, depression, angina, limitations in activities of daily living, and the use of benzodiazepines.

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