Introduction Epidemiological studies performed in the last decades confirmed the significant role of sleep as an independent predictor of survival in older age.
Objective The aim of the study was to assess the role of the social position, self-reported functional status, self-rated health, and a feeling of life-weariness as risk factors of sleep duration, and to evaluate how the relationship between sleep duration and these psychosocial factors influences the risk of death.
Methods Baseline study using a structured questionnaire was performed in 1986/1987 on a random sample (n=2605) of older people aged 65 years and over, community-dwelling citizens of Krakow. Vital status was monitored over 22 years. The analysis was performed using logistic regression and Cox hazard models.
Results The mean observation period of the cohort was 11.5 years, for a total of 29 951 person-years. 1341 deaths in women and 771 in men were recorded. Strong feeling of life-weariness was found as predictor of short sleep in both genders. Poor self-rated health in women and both low functional activity and low level of education in men was associated with a long sleep. Analysis showed increased risk of death in men who slept <7 h and reported a strong feeling of life-weariness (HR=2.2, 95% CI 1.2 to 4.1), for women higher mortality was observed in those who reported long sleep and poor self-rated health (HR=1.6, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.2).
Conclusions Results suggest that sleeping patterns in elders depending on several psychosocial conditions influence the mortality patterns in older age.
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