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Aging Clinical and Experimental Research


Background: Engaging in healthy behaviors may help to preserve function during aging; however, it is not well understood how sleeping time is associated with functional capacity in older adults.

Aims: We sought to determine the association of sleeping time on functional limitation in a national sample of older Americans.

Methods: The analytical sample included 6,020 adults aged at least 65 years who participated in the 2007-2016 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Respondents indicated their hours of sleep/week night and were categorized as <5, 5-6.5, 7-8, 8.5-9, and >9 hours of sleep/week night. Ability to complete 19 functional tasks including basic activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, leisure and social activities, lower extremity mobility activities, and general physical activities were also self-reported. A covariate-adjusted logistic model analyzed the associations between each sleeping time category and functional limitation.

Results: Relative to those reporting 7-8 hours of sleep/week night, older Americans reporting <5, 5-6.5, 8.5-9, and >9 hours of sleep/week night had 2.02 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.26, 3.21), 1.25 (CI: 1.02, 1.53), 1.60 (CI: 1.21, 2.12), and 3.21 (CI: 2.12, 4.87) greater odds for functional limitation, respectively.

Discussion: Sleep should be recognized as a health factor that may reflect functional capacity in older adults. Healthcare providers should discuss the importance of optimal sleep with their older patients and older adults should practice healthy sleeping behaviors for preserving function.

Conclusions: Not meeting optimal sleep recommendations is associated with functional limitations in older Americans.






This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research. The final authenticated version is available online at: