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napping, older adults, aging, evening, sleep

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Objectives: To compare objective and subjective measurements of napping, and to examine the relationship between evening napping and nocturnal sleep in older adults.

Design: For twelve days, participants wore actigraphs and completed sleep diaries.

Setting: Community

Participants: 100 individuals who napped, 60–89 years (including good and poor sleepers with typical age-related medical comorbidities).

Measurements: Twelve days of sleep diary and actigraphy provided subjective and objective napping and sleep data.

Results: Evening naps (within 2 hours of bedtime) were characteristic of the sample with peak nap time occurring between 20:30–21:00 (average nap time occurred between 14:30–15:00). Two categories of nappers were identified: 1) day/evening – those who took both daytime and evening naps, and 2) daytime-only. Interestingly, no participants napped during the evening only. Day/evening nappers significantly underreported evening napping and demonstrated lower objectively measured sleep onset latencies (20 vs 26.5 minutes), less wake after sleep onset (51.4 vs 72.8 minutes), and higher sleep efficiencies (76.8 vs 82%) than daytime-only nappers.

Conclusion: Day/evening napping was prevalent amongst this sample of community-dwelling good/poor sleepers, but was not associated with impaired nocturnal sleep. Although the elimination or restriction of napping is a common element of cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi), these results suggest that a uniform recommendation to restrict/eliminate napping (particularly evening napping) may not meet the needs of all older individuals with insomnia.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, v. 56, issue 9, p. 1681-1686

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Dautovich, N. D., McCrae, C. S. and Rowe, M. (2008), Subjective and Objective Napping and Sleep in Older Adults: Are Evening Naps “Bad” for Nighttime Sleep?. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 56: 1681-1686, which has been published in final form at 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2008.01822.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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