Defying Expectations: Penn Medicine Study Reveals Americans Report Improved Sleep With Age

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Media Contact:Jessica Mikulski | jessica.mikulski@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-8369March 1, 2012

Aging does not appear to be a factor in poor sleep, a new study by Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows. In fact, subjective sleep quality seems to improve over a lifetime, with the fewest complaints coming from people in their 80s. The new study is published in the journal SLEEP.

"This flies in the face of popular belief," said Michael Grandner, PhD, research associate at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology and lead author of the study. "These results force us to re-think what we know about sleep in older people — men and women."

The study examined rates of sleep disturbance and daytime fatigue reported by 155,877 adults participating in a randomized national telephone survey. Respondents were asked about sleep disturbances and daytime tiredness. The survey also asked about race, income, education, depressed mood, general health and time of last medical checkup. All responses were weighted so that they matched U.S. Census data.

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