Binge drinking and insomnia in middle-aged and older adults: the Health and Retirement Study

TitleBinge drinking and insomnia in middle-aged and older adults: the Health and Retirement Study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCanham, SL, Kaufmann, CN, Mauro, PM, Mojtabai, R, Spira, AP
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
KeywordsHealth Conditions and Status

Objective Alcohol use in later life has been linked to poor sleep. However, the association between binge drinking, which is common among middle-aged and older adults, and insomnia has not been previously assessed. Methods: We studied participants aged 50 years and older (n = 6027) from the 2004 Health and Retirement Study who reported the number of days they had 4 drinks on one occasion in the prior 3 months. Participants also reported the frequency of four insomnia symptoms. Logistic regression analyses assessed the association between binge drinking frequency and insomnia. Results Overall, 32.5 of participants had 0 to 2 binge drinking days/week; and 3.6 had 2 binge drinking days/week. After adjusting for demographic variables, medical conditions, body mass index, and elevated depressive symptoms, participants who binged 2 days/week had a 64 greater odds of insomnia than non-binge drinkers (adjusted odds ratio aOR = 1.64, 95 confidence interval CI = 1.09 2.47, p = 0.017). Participants reporting 0 to 2 binge days/week also had a 35 greater odds of insomnia than non-binge drinkers (aOR = 1.35, 95 CI = 1.15 1.59, p = 0.001). When smoking was added to the regression model, these associations fell just below the level of significance. Conclusions: Results suggest that binge drinking is associated with a greater risk of insomnia among adults aged 50 years and older, although this relationship may be driven in part by current smoking behavior. The relatively high prevalence of both binge drinking and sleep complaints among middle-aged and older populations warrants further investigation into binge drinking as a potential cause of late-life insomnia.


Canham, Sarah L Kaufmann, Christopher N Mauro, Pia M Mojtabai, Ramin Spira, Adam P eng F31 AG044052/AG/NIA NIH HHS/ K01 AG033195/AG/NIA NIH HHS/ T32 DA007292/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/ England 2014/05/07 06:00 Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2015 Mar;30(3):284-91. doi: 10.1002/gps.4139. Epub 2014 May 5.

Endnote Keywords

alcohol/aging/binge drinking/insomnia/sleep patterns/Smoking

Endnote ID


Citation Key8292