For Elderly, Poor Sleep Linked With Placement In Nursing Home

On top of an increased risk of diabetes, weight gain and stroke, researchers have found another thing linked with poor sleep -- being placed in a nursing home.

In a new Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study, elderly women who experienced the most fragmented sleep had a three-fold risk of being placed in a nursing home five years later. Similarly, those who spent the least time actually sleeping after first falling asleep had a three-fold risk of being placed in a nursing home later on, researchers found.

"Despite the growing literature on sleep disturbance and disability, prior to our research very little was known about the association between sleep disturbance in older adults and risk of placement in long-term care facilities," study researcher Dr. Kristine Yaffe, M.D., a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a statement.

The study included 1,664 women with an average age of 83. The researchers gauged their sleep patterns using wrist actigraphy for four nights. They found that, on average, everyone slept an average of 408 minutes (6.8 hours).

Five years later, researchers followed up with the study participants to find that 71 of them (4 percent) were in a nursing home, while 127 (8 percent) were in a personal care home.

Even though researchers found that fragmented sleep and trouble staying asleep were linked with the increased risk of being placed in a nursing home, they did not find any link between the amount of time they stayed asleep and being placed in a nursing home.