The more routine your day, the better you may sleep at night.
THE QUESTION Does the regularity of people's daily activities affect how well they sleep?
THIS STUDY involved 96 older adults (average age, 75) who lived independently in a retirement community. Most were women who lived alone, and all were in fair to good health. About 65 percent used no sleep medications. The timing, frequency and duration of their daily activities were monitored, including such things as getting up in the morning, eating, bathing, watching TV, reading a book, shopping, cleaning, exercising, participating in social activities and more. On average, they slept six hours a night, took about 38 minutes to fall asleep and spent 78 percent of their time in bed asleep, which is considered their sleep efficiency rating. The more regular their routine, especially on such basic activities as bathing, dressing and eating, the higher their sleep efficiency: It took less time to fall asleep, there were fewer awakenings during the night and they spent more time asleep.
WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? Older adults, who frequently have more trouble sleeping than do younger adults.
CAVEATS Data on sleep were based on the participants' responses to questionnaires. Though the analysis took into account the participants' ages, their ability to function day to day and their medical conditions, factors not assessed could have contributed to sleep problems.
FIND THIS STUDY April 1 issue of Sleep.
-- Linda Searing
The research described in Quick Study comes from credible, peer-reviewed journals. Nonetheless, conclusive evidence about a treatment's effectiveness is rarely found in a single study. Anyone considering changing or beginning treatment of any kind should consult with a physician.