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Study shows that sleep disturbances improve after retirement
Date:10/31/2009

WESTCHESTER, Ill. - A study in the Nov.1 issue of the journal Sleep shows that retirement is followed by a sharp decrease in the prevalence of sleep disturbances. Findings suggest that this general improvement in sleep is likely to result from the removal of work-related demands and stress rather than from actual health benefits of retirement.

Results show that the odds of having disturbed sleep in the seven years after retirement were 26 percent lower (adjusted odds ratio of 0.74) than in the seven years before retiring. Sleep disturbance prevalence rates among 14,714 participants fell from 24.2 percent in the last year before retirement to 17.8 percent in the first year after retiring. The greatest reduction in sleep disturbances was reported by participants with depression or mental fatigue prior to retirement. The postretirement improvement in sleep also was more pronounced in men, management-level workers, employees who reported high psychological job demands, and people who occasionally or consistently worked night shifts.

Lead author Jussi Vahtera, professor in the department of public health at the University of Turku in Finland, noted that the participants enjoyed employment benefits rarely seen today, including guaranteed job stability, a statutory retirement age between 55 and 60 years, and a company-paid pension that was 80 percent of their salary.

"We believe these findings are largely applicable in situations where financial incentives not to retire are relatively weak," said Vahtera. "In countries and positions where there is no proper pension level to guarantee financial security beyond working age, however, retirement may be followed by severe stress disturbing sleep even more than before retirement."

The study involved employees from the French national gas and electricity company, Electricit de France-Gaz de France, who retired between 1990 and 2006 at a mean age of 55 years. The study inclu
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Contact: Kelly Wagner
kwagner@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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