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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 3685789, 10 pages
Research Article

The Association between Sleep Problems, Sleep Medication Use, and Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Results from the Health and Retirement Study 2010

Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science, School of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298-0533, USA

Received 12 October 2015; Revised 21 April 2016; Accepted 22 May 2016

Academic Editor: Barbara Shukitt-Hale

Copyright © 2016 Yaena Min et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Very few studies have assessed the impact of poor sleep and sleep medication use on the risk of falls among community-dwelling older adults. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between sleep problems, sleep medication use, and falls in community-dwelling older adults. Methods. The study population comprised a nationally representative sample of noninstitutionalized older adults participating in the 2010 Health and Retirement Study. Proportion of adults reporting sleep problems, sleep medication use, and fall was calculated. Multiple logistic regression models were constructed to examine the impact of sleep problems and sleep medication use on the risk of falls after controlling for covariates. Results. Among 9,843 community-dwelling older adults, 35.8% had reported a fall and 40.8% had reported sleep problems in the past two years. Sleep medication use was reported by 20.9% of the participants. Older adults who do have sleep problems and take sleep medications had a significant high risk of falls, compared to older adults who do not have sleep problems and do not take sleep medications. The other two groups also had significantly greater risk for falls. Conclusion. Sleep problems added to sleep medication use increase the risk of falls. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm these observed findings.