Three studies that will be presented later this morning as posters shed light on issues related to sleep in older adults.
A study (#0363) involving Sleep Heart Health Study participants used direct measures of sleep fragmentation to show that increases in specific sleep stage transitions during the night are associated with higher mortality risk. This association was found in middle-aged and older adults who had more objectively measured wake to non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep transitions per hour of sleep, and in participants who had more NREM to wake transitions. Over the average follow-up period of eight years, 854 of the 5,614 participants died (15.2 percent).
A study (#0373) involving a national sample of older Americans shows that more than 55 percent reported sleeping for an average of seven hours or less per night during the past month. But only 18 percent reported that they “often” or “almost always” feel “unrested during the day.” The average age of the 1,570 participants was 71.9 years.
Another study (#0420) reports that older adults (between 59 and 82 years of age) showed more resiliency to total sleep deprivation than younger adults (between 19 and 38 years of age) on a range of measures of cognitive performance. Participants completed three cognitive tasks before and after sleep deprivation lasting 12 hours and 36 hours. For all three tasks, young adults significantly declined during total sleep deprivation while older adults did not change significantly.
You can download the SLEEP 2009 abstract supplement as an 11 MB file in PDF format.