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Loneliness and sleep in older adults



The present analysis aims to examine if loneliness is associated with sleep problems and duration over a 4-year period in a sample of older adults aged 50 years and over.


Data on loneliness, sleep duration, sleep problems and covariates were obtained from 5698 participants from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing at baseline (wave 4) and follow up (wave 6).


Following adjustment for covariates, baseline loneliness was associated with an increase in the odds of reporting short sleep, and more sleep problems at follow up.


Short sleep may represent an important mechanism through which loneliness affects health.

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  1. I would like to thank the anonymous reviewer for this suggestion.


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The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing was developed by a team of researchers based at the NatCen Social Research, University College London and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The data were collected by NatCen Social Research. The funding is provided by the National Institute of Aging in the United States and a consortium of UK government departments coordinated by the Office for National Statistics. The developers and funders of ELSA and the Archive do not bear any responsibility for the analyses or interpretations presented here. The data were made available through the UK Data Archive.

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Correspondence to Aparna Shankar.

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Shankar, A. Loneliness and sleep in older adults. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 55, 269–272 (2020).

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  • Loneliness
  • Sleep
  • Aging
  • ELSA