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

  • Sakari Lemola
  • David Richter

Objective: Older adults more often complain about sleep disturbances compared to younger adults. However, it is not clear whether there is still a decline of sleep qualityafter 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 representative sample of 14,179 participants (52.7% females; age range 18-85) from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study across 4 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. Physical health prospectively predicted subjective sleep quality and vice versa. These relations were similar for participants above and below age 60. Discussion: Around retirement a transient increase in subjective sleep quality occurs, which may reflect a decrease in work related distress or an increase in flexibility to organize the day according to one's circadian preferences. Perceived physical health is important for subjective sleep quality in old adults, but not more important than at younger age.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.413276.de/diw_sp0516.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 516.

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Length: 28 p.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp516
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  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 P182-P189.
  2. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. 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 e48089.
  4. 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).
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