Age-associated differences in sleep duration in the US population: potential effects of disease burden

Girardin Jean-Louis, Tamar Shochat, Shawn D. Youngstedt, Anthony Q. Briggs, Ellita T. Williams, Peng Jin, Omonigho Michael Bubu, Azizi A. Seixas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: We contrasted the relative risks (RR) of short [<7 h] and long [>8 h] sleep experienced by middle-aged (45–64 years) and older (≥65 years) adults, compared with young adults (20–44 years). Methods: We utilized NHANES data (2005–2016), capturing sociodemographic, socioeconomic, and health-related data among US adults. Results: The Relative Risk (RR) of short sleep between young and middle-aged adults did not differ [RR = 1.02, NS]. However, the RR of short sleep was significantly reduced among older participants [RR = 0.81, p < 0.01]. Middle-aged adults had significantly lower RR of long sleep [RR = 0.80, p < 0.01], whereas older adults had significantly greater RR of long sleep [RR = 1.41, p < 0.01]. Compared with young adults, older adults with or without increased disease burden had significantly lower RR of short sleep [RR = 0.81, p < 0.01 and RR = 0.80, p < 0.01], respectively. However, for middle-aged adults, the RR of short sleep did not differ whether they reported a greater disease burden. Relative to young adults, older adults with or without disease burden had higher RRs of long sleep [RR = 1.39, p < 0.01] and [RR = 1.45, p < 0.01], respectively. For middle-aged adults without disease burden, the RR of long sleep was lower than among young adults [RR = 0.72, p < 0.01]. Conclusions: Compared with young adults, older adults were not at increased risk for short sleep. Rather, they reported longer sleep time regardless of the presence of disease burden. Future studies should investigate longitudinal effects of aging on objective sleep time, with or without common diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors report no conflicts of interest. This research was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health : K07AG052685 , K01HL135452 , R01HL142066 , R01AG067523 , R01AG056031 , R01MD007716 , R25HL105444 and R01HL152453 . The funding sources had no role in the design, conduct, or analysis of the study, or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Aging
  • Disease burden
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Sleep duration
  • Sleep health
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Cost of Illness
  • Sleep Wake Disorders/epidemiology
  • Young Adult
  • Sleep
  • Time Factors
  • Aged

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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