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Sleep Health

Sleep Gets Better in Retirement

Retirement is proving restful. A new study has found that retirees sleep an average of about 20 minutes longer per night than they did before retirement. And the quality of their sleep also improves.

Researchers at the University of Turku, Finland, in collaboration with the Finnish Institution of Occupational Health, University of Helsinki, and University College London Medical School, also found that the new level of sleep stayed the same for years after retirement.

Duration of sleep increased especially for people who had had sleep difficulties or were heavy alcohol users prior to retirement, according to a news release from the University of Turku. The duration of sleep increased the most for people who did not get enough sleep during their employment. They slept 45 minutes longer during their retirement.

The researchers discovered that, among different kinds of sleep difficulties, people experienced a decrease especially in early morning awakenings and nonrestorative sleep, in which a person experiences tiredness and fatigue after sleeping for a regular duration. Sleep difficulties decreased especially among people who experienced their work as stressful and their health as poor before retirement. And sleep difficulties decreased the most for people who experienced psychological distress before retirement.

The study followed approximately 5,800 people who participated in the Finnish Public Sector study by the Finnish Institution of Occupational Health and who retired between 2000 and 2011. The participants estimated their sleep duration and the prevalence of different kinds of sleep difficulties in surveys before and after retiring.

The results were published in the journal Sleep.