Insomnia and health services utilization in middle- Aged and older adults: Results from the health and retirement study

Christopher N. Kaufmann, Sarah L. Canham, Ramin Mojtabai, Amber M. Gum, Natalie D. Dautovich, Robert Kohn, Adam P. Spira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. Complaints of poor sleep are common among older adults. We investigated the prospective association between insomnia symptoms and hospitalization, use of home health care services, use of nursing homes, and use of any of these services in a population-based study of middle-aged and older adults. Methods. We studied 14,355 adults aged 55 and older enrolled in the 2006 and 2008 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Logistic regression was used to study the association between insomnia symptoms (0, 1, or ?2) in 2006 and reports of health service utilization in 2008, after adjustment for demographic and clinical characteristics. Results. Compared with respondents reporting no insomnia symptoms, those reporting one symptom had a greater odds of hospitalization (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.28, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.15-1.43, p < .001), use of home health care services (AOR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.09-1.52, p = .004), and any health service use (AOR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.15-1.41, p < .001). Those reporting greater than or equal to two insomnia symptoms had a greater odds of hospitalization (AOR = 1.71, 95% CI = 1.50-1.96, p < .001), use of home health care services (AOR = 1.64, 95% CI = 1.32-2.04, p < .001), nursing home use (AOR = 1.45, 95% CI = 1.10-1.90, p = .009), and any health service use (AOR = 1.72, 95% CI = 1.51-1.95, p < .001) after controlling for demographics. These associations weakened, and in some cases were no longer statistically significant, after adjustment for clinical covariates. Conclusions. In this study, insomnia symptoms experienced by middle-aged and older adults were associated with greater future use of costly health services. Our findings raise the question of whether treating or preventing insomnia in older adults may reduce use of and spending on health services among this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1512-1517
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number12 A
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013



  • Health services
  • Public health
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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