Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 327–334 | Cite as

Subjective quality of sleep and use of hypnotics in an elderly urban population

  • M. Seppälä
  • M. T. Hyyppä
  • O. Impivaara
  • L-R. Knuts
  • L. Sourander
Original Article


To investigate the characteristics and subjective quality of sleep, the use of hypnotics and their correlates in an urban elderly population, a structured interview was administered to a stratified random sample of 600 elderly subjects in five age groups. Interrupted sleep and napping were common; nonetheless, 88% of the subjects considered their sleep at least satisfactory. According to specific criteria, 17% were good, 72% moderate and 11% poor sleepers. Habitual insomnia was reported by 12% of the subjects. Quality of sleep did not differ between age groups or genders. Hypnotics were habitually used by 8% of the men and 25% of the women. Consumption increased with age in both sexes, and 77% of the hypnotics were benzodiazepines. In multivariate regression analyses, insomnia and habitual use of hypnotics were associated with poor health, but only the latter with age and gender. As a conclusion, most of the subjects considered their sleep satisfactory, and aging itself did not seem to have an effect on the quality of sleep. The use of hypnotics was common, more prevalent in women and increased with age. Aging and poor health were independently associated with the use of hypnotics, but not with poor quality of sleep or insomnia.

Key words

Aged hypnotics sleep quality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Internal Publishing Switzerland 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Seppälä
    • 1
  • M. T. Hyyppä
    • 2
  • O. Impivaara
    • 2
  • L-R. Knuts
    • 2
  • L. Sourander
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geriatric MedicineUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Research and Development Centre of the Social Insurance InstitutionTurkuFinland

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