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Journal Article

Investigating the bidirectional associations of adiposity with sleep duration in older adults: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA)


Publication date

09 Jan 2017


Cross-sectional analyses of adiposity and sleep duration in younger adults suggest that increased adiposity is associated with shorter sleep. Prospective studies have yielded mixed findings, and the direction of this association in older adults is unclear. We examined the cross-sectional and potential bi-directional, prospective associations between adiposity and sleep duration (covariates included demographics, health behaviours, and health problems) in 5,015 respondents from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), at baseline and follow-up. Following adjustment for covariates, we observed no significant cross-sectional relationship between body mass index (BMI) and sleep duration [(unstandardized) B = −0.28 minutes, (95% Confidence Intervals (CI) = −0.012; 0.002), p = 0.190], or waist circumference (WC) and sleep duration [(unstandardized) B = −0.10 minutes, (95% CI = −0.004; 0.001), p = 0.270]. Prospectively, both baseline BMI [B = −0.42 minutes, (95% CI = −0.013; −0.002), p = 0.013] and WC [B = −0.18 minutes, (95% CI = −0.005; −0.000), p = 0.016] were associated with decreased sleep duration at follow-up, independently of covariates. There was, however, no association between baseline sleep duration and change in BMI or WC (p > 0.05). In older adults, our findings suggested that greater adiposity is associated with decreases in sleep duration over time; however the effect was very small.

Published in

Scientific Reports


7: 40250





Open Access; This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit


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