Associations of Actigraphic Sleep Parameters with Fatigability in Older Adults

Alfonso J. Alfini, Jennifer A. Schrack, Jacek K. Urbanek, Amal A. Wanigatunga, Sarah K. Wanigatunga, Vadim Zipunnikov, Luigi Ferrucci, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Adam P. Spira, Anne Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Poor sleep may increase the likelihood of fatigue, and both are common in later life. However, prior studies of the sleep-fatigue relationship used subjective measures or were conducted in clinical populations; thus, the nature of this association in healthier community-dwelling older adults remains unclear. We studied the association of actigraphic sleep parameters with perceived fatigability - fatigue in response to a standardized task - and with conventional fatigue symptoms of low energy or tiredness. Methods: We studied 382 cognitively normal participants in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (aged 73.1 ± 10.3 years, 53.1% women) who completed 6.7 ± 0.9 days of wrist actigraphy and a perceived fatigability assessment, including rating of perceived exertion (RPE) after a 5-minute treadmill walk or the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale (PFS). Participants also reported non-standardized symptoms of fatigue. Results: After adjustment for age, sex, race, height, weight, comorbidity index, and depressive symptoms, shorter total sleep time (TST; <6.3 hours vs intermediate TST =6.3 to 7.2 hours) was associated with high RPE fatigability (odds ratio [OR] = 2.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.29, 5.06, p =. 007), high PFS physical (OR = 1.88, 95% CI = 1.04, 3.38, p =. 035), and high mental fatigability (OR = 2.15, 95% CI = 1.02, 4.50, p =. 044), whereas longer TST was also associated with high mental fatigability (OR = 2.19, 95% CI = 1.02, 4.71, p =. 043). Additionally, longer wake bout length was associated with high RPE fatigability (OR = 1.53, 95% CI = 1.14, 2.07, p =. 005), and greater wake after sleep onset was associated with high mental fatigability (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.01, 1.28, p =. 036). Conclusion: Among well-functioning older adults, abnormal sleep duration and sleep fragmentation are associated with greater perceived fatigability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e95-e102
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 5 2020


  • Actigraphy
  • Fatigability
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations of Actigraphic Sleep Parameters with Fatigability in Older Adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this