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New Study Shows Quality of Sleep Can Affect Placement in Nursing Home

According to an article in the Health News section of USNews.com, a new study shows that getting quality sleep might help older people stay out of nursing homes.

The study involved nearly 1,700 women with an average age of 83. Researchers assessed the quality of their sleep and tracked how many were admitted to nursing homes within five years.

Adam Spira, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the department of mental health at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said, “Sleep disturbances are common in older people. Our results show that in community-dwelling older women, more fragmented sleep is associated with a greater risk of being placed in a nursing home or in a personal-care home.”

The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Spira also said, “We found that, compared to women with the least fragmented sleep, those who spent the most time awake after first falling asleep had about three times the odds of placement in a nursing home.”

The researchers also found that those with disturbed sleep had an increased likelihood of placement in personal-care homes, such as assisted-living facilities. But the number of hours the women slept each night did not affect their placement in a nursing or personal-care home.

The study added to knowledge from a previous study that linked sleep disturbances in older adults to disability, reduced mobility, and difficulty doing daily activities.