Variability in self-reported normal sleep across the adult age span

Haley R. Dillon, Kenneth L. Lichstein, Natalie D. Dautovich, Daniel J. Taylor, Brant W. Riedel, Andrew J. Bush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. Illustrate the importance of examining within- and between-person differences in sleep across the adult age span. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. Method. Two weeks of sleep diary data were analyzed for 592 normal sleepers ranging in age from 20 to 96 years. Variability in total sleep time (TST), number of nighttime awakenings (NWAK), sleep-onset latency (SOL), and wake-time after sleep onset (WASO) were examined overall and by age, sex, and race utilizing multilevel models and multiple regression. Results. Night-to-night differences in sleep within the same individual generally exceeded differences between individuals for TST, SOL, and WASO. The amount of intraindividual variability in TST and NWAK decreased with older age. Further, the degree of reduction in variability in TST associated with age depended on sex and race, with young black females showing the greatest variability. In general, females tended to have more intraindividual variability in SOL and NWAK than males, while race differences were complicated by high variability between blacks. Discussion. To truly assess and understand individual differences in the sleep of older adults, future research needs to take into account night-to-night variability (including what makes sleep vary from one night to the next), in addition to average sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-56
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume70
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Age-related change
  • Intraindividual variability
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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