Insomnia and Telomere Length in Older Adults.

TitleInsomnia and Telomere Length in Older Adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsCarroll JE, Esquivel S, Goldberg A, Seeman TE, Effros RB, Dock J, Olmstead R, Breen EC, Irwin MR
Date Published2016

STUDY OBJECTIVES: Insomnia, particularly in later life, may raise the risk for chronic diseases of aging and mortality through its effect on cellular aging. The current study examines the effects of insomnia on telomere length, a measure of cellular aging, and tests whether insomnia interacts with chronological age to increase cellular aging.

METHODS: A total of 126 males and females (60-88 y) were assessed for insomnia using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV criterion for primary insomnia and the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, Second Edition for general insomnia (45 insomnia cases; 81 controls). Telomere length in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was determined using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) methodology.

RESULTS: In the analysis of covariance model adjusting for body mass index and sex, age (60-69 y versus 70-88 y) and insomnia diagnosis interacted to predict shorter PBMC telomere length (P = 0.04). In the oldest age group (70-88 y), PBMC telomere length was significantly shorter in those with insomnia, mean (standard deviation) M(SD) = 0.59(0.2) compared to controls with no insomnia M(SD) = 0.78(0.4), P = 0.04. In the adults aged 60-69 y, PBMC telomere length was not different between insomnia cases and controls, P = 0.44.

CONCLUSIONS: Insomnia is associated with shorter PBMC telomere length in adults aged 70-88 y, but not in those younger than 70 y, suggesting that clinically severe sleep disturbances may increase cellular aging, especially in the later years of life. These findings highlight insomnia as a vulnerability factor in later life, with implications for risk for diseases of aging.

Alternate JournalSleep
PubMed ID26715231
PubMed Central IDPMC4763369
Grant ListAG028748 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
K01 AG044462 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
K01AG044462 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P30 AG028748 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG026364 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG034588 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01-AG034588 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01AG032422 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
T32 MH019925 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
UL1TR000124 / TR / NCATS NIH HHS / United States