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Sleep/wake patterns and physical performance in older adults

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Background and aims

Sleep problems are common in older adults. They have been associated with reduced physical functionality affecting their health, well-being, and consequently their overall quality of life. We conducted this study to examine the association between sleep/wake patterns and functional capacity in hypertensive older adults.


Participants were recruited from the study “Effect of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors over grip strength and functionality of older adults” and accepted to be part of this cross-sectional study. Subjects were 97 older adults with a mean age of 74.8 ± 3.3 years and 77 % were women. Sleep/wake patterns were determined through actigraphic data and the following variables were determined: total sleep time, number of awakenings and wake after sleep onset within the nocturnal period, and number of naps and total sleep time during the diurnal period. Functional performance measurements included short physical performance battery and grip strength. Differences in physical performance according to sleep/wake patterns were explored, and the association between the sleep/wake patterns and functionality adjusting by sex, age, body mass index, use of angiotensin-converting enzyme, number of diseases, and hypnotic intake was studied using logistic regression analysis.


Subjects sleeping <7.0 h or having fragmented sleep with >2.0 awakenings/night had a slightly but significant higher odds ratio of having functional performance impairment (p < 0.05).


Our results suggest that a better nighttime sleep consolidation might help improve daytime physical performance of older people.

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This study was supported by grant from the Chilean National Fund for Health Research and Development (No. SA06I20038). We would like to express our gratitude to the subjects whose participation made this study possible. We also thank all technicians of Sleep Laboratory and Aging Laboratory of INTA, University of Chile, who contributed during the course of this study.

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Correspondence to Sussanne Reyes.

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Reyes, S., Algarin, C., Bunout, D. et al. Sleep/wake patterns and physical performance in older adults. Aging Clin Exp Res 25, 175–181 (2013).

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