Elderly Women Underestimate Quality of Sleep

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

You might be getting more sleep than you think. Elderly women who reported shorter and poorer quality of sleep actually had longer and less-fragmented sleep than elderly men, according to a recent study in the journal SLEEP. The study, conducted by researchers in the Netherlands, examined 956 participants ages 59 to 97 years old. Participants were asked to wear an actigraph — an accelerometer that measures sleep activity — and keep a sleep diary for six consecutive nights. According to the study, women reported a shorter sleep time, an increase in the time it takes to fall asleep, and poorer sleep efficiency and quality compared to the men. However, after examining data from the actigraphs, researchers discovered the women slept longer than the men and with less disturbances. The study found that men actually overestimated the amount of sleep they got and their quality of sleep, with participants claiming they got seven hours of sleep when in reality they only got six and a half.