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 representative sample of US middle-aged and older adults, we found that individuals with a greater number of insomnia symptoms 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.