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The Course of Subjective Sleep Quality in Middle and Old Adulthood and Its Relation to Physical Health


  • Lemola, Sakari
  • Richter, David


Objectives. Older adults more often complain about sleep disturbances compared with younger adults. However, it is not clear whether there is still a decline of sleep quality after age 60 and whether changes in sleep quality in old age are mere reflections of impaired physical health or whether they represent a normative age-dependent development.Method. Subjective sleep quality and perceived physical health were assessed in a large sample of 14,179 participants (52.7% women; age range 18–85) from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study across four yearly measurement time points.Results. Subjective sleep quality linearly declined from young adulthood until age 60. After age 60, a transient increase in subjective sleep quality occurred that coincides with retirement. After age 66, subjective sleep quality appears to decrease again. Physical health prospectively predicted subjective sleep quality and vice versa. These relations were similar for participants aged over and under 60.Discussion. Around retirement, a transient increase in subjective sleep quality appears to occur, which might reflect a decrease in work-related distress. Perceived physical health appears to be important for subjective sleep quality in old adults but not more important than at younger age.

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  • Lemola, Sakari & Richter, David, 2013. "The Course of Subjective Sleep Quality in Middle and Old Adulthood and Its Relation to Physical Health," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 721-729.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:100671

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christina S. McCrae & Meredeth A. Rowe & Candece G. Tierney & Natalie D. Dautovich & Allison L. DeFinis & Joseph P. H. McNamara, 2005. "Sleep Complaints, Subjective and Objective Sleep Patterns, Health, Psychological Adjustment, and Daytime Functioning in Community-Dwelling Older Adults," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 60(4), pages 182-189.
    2. Wrzus, Cornelia & Brandmaier, Andreas M. & von Oertzen, Timo & Müller, Viktor & Wagner, Gert G. & Riediger, Michaela, 2012. "A New Approach for Assessing Sleep Duration and Postures from Ambulatory Accelerometry," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 48089-48089.
    3. Jule Specht & Boris Egloff & Stefan C. Schmukle, 2011. "Stability and Change of Personality across the Life Course: The Impact of Age and Major Life Events on Mean-Level and Rank-Order Stability of the Big Five," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 377, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Eibich, 2014. "Understanding the Effect of Retirement on Health Using Regression Discontinuity Design," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 669, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Billari, Francesco C. & Giuntella, Osea & Stella, Luca, 2017. "Broadband Internet, Digital Temptations, and Sleep," IZA Discussion Papers 11050, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Eibich, Peter, 2015. "Understanding the effect of retirement on health: Mechanisms and heterogeneity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-12.


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