A study carried out by the Journal of the American Geriatrics
Society has revealed an unlikely link between fragmented sleep
patterns for older individuals and being placed in a nursing
In addition to more common risk factors associated with the
development of problems like obstructive sleep apnoea, such as
diabetes, obesity and smoking, the research showed older people who
suffer from this problem could face a growing likelihood of
Lead investigator Adam Spira of the Bloomberg School department of
mental health commented: "Sleep disturbances are common in older
people. Our results show that in community-dwelling older women,
more fragmented sleep is associated with a greater risk of being
placed in a nursing home or in a personal care home."
His team based their findings on statistical evidence from
thousands of women across the US who recorded their sleep patterns
over a five-year period. The results depicted a correlation between
the amount of uninterrupted sleep people were getting and their
need for institutionalisation - highlighting the significant impact
a lack of restful sleep can have on a person's ability to function
in daily life.
"Greater sleep fragmentation is associated with greater risk of
placement in a nursing home or personal care home five years later
after accounting for a number of potential confounders," concluded
senior researcher Kristine Yaffe, professor of psychiatry,
neurology, epidemiology and biostatistics at San Francisco's
University of California.
Meanwhile, the Hindu Times recently reported that up to one-third
of individuals who already suffer from ill health could also be
demonstrating symptoms of broken sleep patterns.
Director of the Nithra Institute of Sleep Sciences N Ramakrishnan
told the publication that obstructive sleep apnoea is a more common
problem than many people realise and while there is no 100 per cent
cure, there are treatments that can improve the quality of a
person's sleep to help them reduce their risk of needing
longer-term care as they get older.
Posted by Michael Ewing