Older Adults Overestimate Their Total Sleep Times

Study subjects report getting an hour more sleep than that confirmed by polysomnography

FRIDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Even on mornings after undergoing an overnight polysomnography, older people overestimate their total sleep times and sleep latencies, a tendency that may be related to socioeconomic status, according to study findings published in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Graciela E. Silva, Ph.D., of Arizona State University in Phoenix, and colleagues studied 2,113 subjects aged 40 and older who were enrolled in the Sleep Heart Health Study, 38 percent of whom were classified as obese.

The researchers found that subjects overestimated their mean habitual sleep time by 61 minutes and their morning estimated total sleep time by 18 minutes. They also found that obese subjects had significantly higher sleep onset latency compared to non-obese subjects.

"Although we have demonstrated in this population-based sample that self-estimates of sleep times and latencies may be higher than polysomnography-recorded equivalents, the explanation for these disparities is not entirely clear," the authors write. "Our data suggest that self-estimates of sleep parameters may be affected by ethnicity or socioeconomic status. For total sleep time, a greater degree of divergence appeared to be present for those with lower educational level (surrogate for socioeconomic status). Similarly, educational level and other parameters influenced self-assessment of sleep onset latency," the authors conclude.

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