Reduced sleep has been reported to predict obesity in children and young adults. However, studies based on self-report have been unable to identify an association in older populations. In this study, the cross-sectional associations between sleep duration measured objectively and measures of weight and body composition were assessed in two cohorts of older adults.
Wrist actigraphy was performed for a mean (s.d.) of 5.2 (0.9) nights in 3055 men (age: 67–96 years) participating in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (MrOS) and 4.1 (0.8) nights in 3052 women (age: 70–99 years) participating in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF). A subgroup of 2862 men and 455 women also underwent polysomnography to measure sleep apnea severity.
Compared to those sleeping an average of 7–8 h per night, and after adjusting for multiple risk factors and medical conditions, a sleep duration of less than 5 h was associated with a body mass index (BMI) that was on average 2.5 kg/m2 (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.0–2.9) greater in men and 1.8 kg/m2 (95% CI: 1.1–2.4) greater in women. The odds of obesity (BMI ⩾30 kg/m2) was 3.7-fold greater (95% CI: 2.7–5.0) in men and 2.3-fold greater in women (95% CI: 1.6–3.1) who slept less than 5 h. Short sleep was also associated with central body fat distribution and increased percent body fat. These associations persisted after adjusting for sleep apnea, insomnia and daytime sleepiness.
In older men and women, actigraphy-ascertained reduced sleep durations are strongly associated with greater adiposity.
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In addition to the support below, this study was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant HL081385. The Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study was supported by National Institutes of Health funding. The following institutes provided support: the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and NIH Roadmap for Medical Research under the following Grant numbers: AR045580, AR045614, AR045632, AR045647, AR045654, AR045583, AG018197, AG027810 and RR024140. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) provided funding for the MrOS Sleep ancillary study ‘Outcomes of Sleep Disorders in Older Men’ under the following Grant numbers: HL071194, HL070848, HL070847, HL070842, HL070841, HL070837, HL070838 and HL070839. The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF) was supported by National Institutes of Health funding. The following institutes provided support: the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) under the following Grant numbers: AG005407, AR035582, AG005394, AR035584, AR035583, AG027576, AG005394, AG027574 and AG026720.
Drs Patel, Redline, Ancoli-Israel, Cauley, Hillier, Lewis, Stefanick, Taylor, and Yaffe and Ms Blackwell have no financial disclosures to report. Dr Orwoll has received honoraria from Merck and is a paid consultant for Merck, Eli Lilly & Co., and Servier. He has active research support from Amgen, Eli Lily & Co. and Solvay Pharmaceuticals and has had previous research support from Pfizer, Zelos Therapeutics and Imaging Therapeutics. Dr Stone is a paid consultant for Sepracor and a paid speaker for Sanofi-Aventis.
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Patel, S., Blackwell, T., Redline, S. et al. The association between sleep duration and obesity in older adults. Int J Obes 32, 1825–1834 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2008.198
- sleep duration
- sleep deprivation
- central obesity
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