Korean J Psychosom Med.  2020 Dec;28(2):168-176. 10.22722/KJPM.2020.28.2.168.

Association between Sleep and Loneliness in the Elderly Living Alone

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Dankook University Hospital, Cheonan, Korea
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea

Abstract


Objectives
:Loneliness and poor sleep quality are common phenomena in old age and are associated with negative physical and mental health. However, little is known regarding the relation between loneliness and sleep quality. The aim of this study was to examine the association of loneliness and sleep quality among the elderly living alone.
Methods
:This is a cross-sectional study that enrolled 1,090 subjects who are the community-residing elderly living alone. Sociodemographic status, medical condition, cognition, mood disorder, sleep quality and levels of loneliness were collected using a self-administered questionnaire and a specific semi-structured interview con-ducted by trained nurses. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data regarding sociodemographic variable and loneliness. Univariate and Multivariate regression analyses were applied to examine the association between loneliness and sleep quality after adjustment for multiple confounding variables.
Results
:The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) mean score of “lonely group” (9.2±4.2) was signifi-cantly higher than that of “not lonely group” (7.3±3.7) (student-t test, p<0.001). Loneliness was significantly as-sociated with PSQI (standardized β= 0.065, p=0.025), sleep disturbance (standardized β=0.086, p=0.005), use of sleep medication (standardized β= 0.065, p=0.034) after adjustment for possible confounding variables including sex and mood disorder.
Conclusions
:Loneliness was associated with sleep disturbance and this finding implied negative impact of loneliness on sleep quality of older adults. Public health promotion efforts to reduce loneliness may improve sleep quality and mental health in the elderly living alone.

Keyword

Loneliness; Sleep quality; Elderly living alone
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