Sleep Disturbance and Older Adults' Inflammatory Responses to Acute Stress.

Author: Heffner KL, Ng HM, Suhr JA, France CR, Marshall GD, Pigeon WR, Moynihan JA.
From The Rochester Center for Mind-Body Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center (KLH, JAM); Department of Psychology, Ohio University (HMN, JAS, CRF); Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, The University of Mississippi Medical Center (GDM); and Sleep and Neurophysiology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center (WRP).
Conference/Journal: Am J Geriatr Psychiatry.
Date published: 2012 Feb 9
Other: Word Count: 187

Poor sleep diminishes mental and physical health. The objective of this study was to examine associations between sleep disturbance and interleukin-6 (IL-6) responses to acute mental stress in older adults.
Observational study of community-dwelling, healthy older adults.
Participants completed the study in a clinical research laboratory of a mid-sized university.
Generally healthy, community-dwelling men and women age 50 and older.
IL-6 and negative affect at rest and following a series of challenging cognitive tests; sleep quality; depressive symptoms; perceived stress; loneliness.
Participants categorized as poor sleepers on the basis of Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index scores had significantly larger IL-6 responses to the cognitive stressors than good sleepers. The association between poor sleep and heightened IL-6 response to acute stress was not explained by other psychosocial factors previously linked to immune dysregulation, including depressive symptoms, perceived stress, and loneliness.
Findings add to the growing evidence for poor sleep as an independent risk factor for poor mental and physical health. Older adults may be particularly vulnerable to effects of sleep disturbance due to significant age-related changes in both sleep and inflammatory regulation.
PMID: 22327621