Balance and Mobility in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Effect of Daytime Sleepiness.

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To examine the effect of self-reported daytime sleepiness on performance-based balance measures and self-reported balance confidence in community-dwelling older adults.


Cross-sectional secondary analysis of an observational cohort study designed to develop and refine measures of balance and mobility in community-dwelling older adults.




Older adults (aged 78.2 ± 5.9) (n = 120).


The performance-based gait and balance measures included gait speed, double support time, and step width. Narrow walk, obstacle walk, and timed standing balance were also assessed. The Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale was included as a self-reported measure. Daytime sleepiness was defined as an Epworth Sleepiness Scale score of 9 or greater. Body mass index, fall-related comorbidities, and use of central nervous system (CNS) medications were considered as covariates.


Forty-five percent of participants reported daytime sleepiness. Participants reporting daytime sleepiness differed significantly from those without in gait speed (adjusted difference (standard error (SE)) -0.09 (0.04) m/s, P = .03), step width (adjusted difference (SE) 0.02 (0.01), P = .03), and self-reported balance confidence (adjusted difference (SE) -1.02 (0.38), P = .01) even after adjusting for covariates. Two-way analysis of variance of CNS medication use and daytime sleepiness showed no significant interaction effects.


Self-reported daytime sleepiness is associated with slower gait speed and poor balance confidence in community-dwelling older adults. Subjective sleep assessment should be considered when assessing balance and implementing interventions for improving balance in older adults. Further study is needed to examine the role of CNS medication use.

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