Future hospitalization and increased health service use may be linked to insomnia

May 10, 2013

Having trouble falling or staying asleep? According to a new study led by a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, insomnia may be an important indicator of future hospitalization among middle-aged and older adults. They examined the association between insomnia and use of home healthcare services, nursing homes and hospitalization and found that insomnia symptoms experienced by middle-aged and older adults were associated with greater future use of costly health services. The results are featured online in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

"In a large of US middle-aged and , we found that individuals with a greater number of were more likely to be hospitalized, and to use home healthcare services," said Adam Spira, PhD, senior author of the study and an assistant professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Mental Health. "Over 40 percent of our sample reported at least one insomnia symptom, consistent with previous studies that showed insomnia to be very common in this population. If the association between insomnia symptoms and health service utilization is causal, our findings would suggest that the prevention of insomnia could decrease health service use by 6-14 percent in this population."

According to the National Institutes of Health, insomnia is the most common sleep complaint at any age and affects almost half of adults ages 60 and older. Insomnia symptoms include difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both, and individuals with insomnia often report getting too little sleep, having poor sleep quality and not feeling refreshed when they wake up.

Lead author, Christopher Kaufmann, MHS, and his colleagues examined the association between insomnia symptoms and reports of health service utilization using data from the Health and Retirement Study. Participants were asked how often they experienced trouble falling asleep; trouble with waking up during the night; trouble with waking up too early and not being able to fall asleep again, and how often they felt rested when they woke up. Researchers evaluated health care utilization in 2006 and respondents were asked questions about their use of several health services two years later, including whether they were hospitalized, used home health care services, or were placed in a nursing home. Participants' demographic characteristics as well as current or previous medical conditions were also recorded.

"We found that there was a statistically significant relationship between the report of insomnia symptoms and the future use of costly health services. A relationship was even found between insomnia symptoms and hospitalization as well as use of any of the three health services after accounting for common medical conditions and elevated depressive symptoms," said Kaufmann, a doctoral student with the Bloomberg School's Department of Mental Health. "These results suggest that treating and carefully monitoring insomnia symptoms in middle-aged and older adults might somewhat reduce the use of health services and presumably the poor health outcomes that necessitate these services."

"Insomnia and utilization in middle-aged and older adults: Results from the Health and Retirement Study," was written by Christopher N. Kaufmann, Sara L. Canham, Ramin Mojtabai, Amber M. Gum, Natalie D. Dautovich, Robert Kohn and Adam P. Spira.

Explore further: Do insomnia and disrupted sleep during menopause increase a woman's risk of heart disease?

More information: www.oxfordjournals.org/page/5147/4

Related Stories

Do insomnia and disrupted sleep during menopause increase a woman's risk of heart disease?

May 9, 2013
Insomnia and other sleep disturbances are common among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women and may increase their risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Evidence that a combination of altered ...

Bladder condition may worsen insomnia symptoms in older adults

March 14, 2013
A new study suggests that the bladder condition nocturia may worsen the already poor sleep of older adults with insomnia.

Study: Insomnia linked to hypertension

June 6, 2012
People with insomnia may now have one more thing to keep them up at night: an increased likelihood of developing hypertension, according to a study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Insomnia is linked to increased risk of heart failure

March 5, 2013
People who suffer from insomnia appear to have an increased risk of developing heart failure, according to the largest study to investigate the link.

Insomnia could moderately raise your heart attack risk

October 24, 2011
Having trouble sleeping? If so, you could have a moderately higher risk of having a heart attack, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Recommended for you

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.