Sleep Deficiency is Associated with Lack of Exercise and Higher BMI Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults

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Objective: To determine the association of physical activity, BMI and demographic characteristics with insufficient sleep among community-dwelling older adults.

Background: Insufficient sleep is a risk factor for cognitive impairment, reduced quality of life, mood disorders, and impaired ability to fight infection. Poor sleep habits, caffeine, alcohol, comorbidities and certain medications increase the risk for impaired sleep. Despite the risks of insufficient sleep, sedating medications are often contraindicated in older patients and have been associated with side effects.

Methods: A cross-sectional examination was conducted using data from the 2011-2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). This nation-wide telephone-administered survey includes questions related to total sleep time, demographic characteristics, diet and exercise habits. For this analysis, optimum sleep time was defined as 7-9 hours/day and insufficient sleep time was defined as65+ years with either optimal or insufficient sleep and valid answers to the questions analyzed were included. Logistic regression analysis included survey weighting procedures was conducted.

Results:Among the 32,506 participants, 27,995 (85[percnt]) reported optimum sleep and 4,511 (15[percnt]) reported insufficient sleep. Insufficient sleep was significantly and independently associated with BMI (OR=1.03, 95[percnt] CI=1.01-1.04 for 1 BMI unit increase), income (OR=0.67, 95[percnt] CI 0.56-0.79; >$20,000 annually cf.

Conclusions: BMI and exercise were significantly associated with insufficient sleep in this large survey of older adults. These modifiable factors should be examined in prospective studies to determine causal association. If causally associated, losing as little as 15lbs and exercising could reduce the odds of insufficient sleep by 31[percnt].