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Circadian amplitude and quality of sleep in a group of active elderly subjects

, : Circadian amplitude and quality of sleep in a group of active elderly subjects. Biological Rhythm Research. 27(3): 398-408

Increased sleep fragmentation, attributed to a decline in the amplitude of sleep-wake cycle (SWC) that seems to be linked to ageing, has been described as the most important factor for impaired sleep quality in the elderly. In this work we assessed possible correlation between SWC circadian amplitude and: a- increasing age; and b- subjective sleep quality. Twenty five healthy and active subjects (aged from 60 to 83) completed sleep logs for 23 consecutive days in April 1989. Twenty two of them were also evaluated concerning subjective sleep quality. Data thus obtained were submitted to spectral analysis (to assess the strength of rhythmic components of SWC) and descriptive statistics. Significant correlations were evaluated using Spearman's rank correlation test. Results showed no significant correlation between subjects' ages and the strength of the circadian and the semicircadian components of SWC. Sleep quality was positively correlated with the strength of the circadian component (p lt 0.05), and negatively correlated with the strength of the semicircadian component of SWC (p lt 0.01). Regularity of some characteristics of SWC (e.g., sleep latency and waking time) showed a significant positive correlation with increasing age and better sleep quality. Based on our results, which are consonant with recent literature data, we suggest that a decline in circadian amplitude of SWC seems to be related to inactivity and diseases rather than to old age per se; therefore, strengthening circadian amplitude could help improve sleep quality.


DOI: 10.1076/brhm.27.3.398.12965

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