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The relationship between sleep habits, anxiety, and depression in the elderly

Authors Leblanc M, Desjardins S, Desgagné A

Received 5 November 2014

Accepted for publication 1 December 2014

Published 5 February 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 33—42


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven A Shea

Marie-France Leblanc,1 Sophie Desjardins,1 Alain Desgagné2

1Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, QC, Canada; 2Department of Mathematics, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada

Purpose: The objective of this study is to determine which sleep-related behaviors are most often used by the elderly according to the presence or absence of anxiety and mood disorders. In particular, we are attempting to determine whether these behaviors are associated with the probability of suffering from a mental disorder. The behaviors being examined in the present study are taking naps, television watching or reading at bedtime, physical exercise at bedtime, relaxing activities at bedtime, and caffeine consumption in the evening.
Methods: The sample in this study consists of 2,759 participants aged 65 and over, with a mean age of 73.8. They were recruited through a method of random generation of telephone numbers according to a sampling strategy based on geographic location. After the goal of the study was explained to them, the participants agreed to have health professionals visit their home and to answer questions in an hour-and-a-half-long structured interview (after signing a consent form).
Results: Taking naps is the activity most often practiced by the elderly. Watching television and reading at bedtime are also frequent practices among them. The probabilities of suffering from anxiety are greater if the person never or rarely consumes caffeine after 6 pm, if the individual takes naps during the day, or if the person practices relaxation before bedtime. Television watching, reading, and physical exercise before bedtime are activities that are not associated with the probability of suffering from a mental disorder.
Conclusion: It would be beneficial for research to be conducted to support the findings on behavioral differences between depressive and anxious seniors so that these behaviors can become further indicators of the presence of mental disorders.

Keywords: bedtime, nap, relaxation, physical exercise, caffeine, mental health

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