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Rating the Quality of Your Sleep: Questionnaires for Seniors

Rating the Quality of Your Sleep: Screening Questionnaires for Seniors

The healthcare community is becoming increasingly aware of the harmful impacts of poor sleep on both mental and physical wellness. Seniors, in particular, can experience significant consequences from sleep disorders, including increased risk of falls, cognitive decline, and depression.

There are a number of ways to assess the quality of your sleep. Here are some of the most common sleep screening questionnaires for seniors.

Measuring sleep quality

Clinicians have come up with a variety of objective and subjective instruments to measure sleep quality and sleep satisfaction in seniors.

Sleep quality is a measurement of how well a person sleeps, i.e., whether it’s restful and restorative; sleep satisfaction refers to your subjective opinion of the quality of your sleep. For that reason, sleep quality is more difficult to measure than sleep satisfaction.

While there are different models for assessing sleep quality, most examine four particular criteria:

  • Sleep latency – How much time you take to fall asleep; good sleep latency is drifting off to sleep within 30 minutes after going to bed.
  • Sleep waking – How often you wake up during the night; waking up frequently can disrupt the sleeping cycle and reduce sleep quality, while not waking up at all or only once during the night is considered acceptable.
  • Wakefulness – How long you spend awake at night after first going to sleep; being awake 20 minutes or less during the night is considered acceptable.
  • Sleep efficiency – How much time you spend asleep while in bed; staying asleep for 85% of the time you spend in bed at night is considered acceptable.

Combined, these criteria also contribute to a greater sense of sleep satisfaction, and using them to improve your quality of sleep can help you avoid sleep cycle interruptions and greet each new day feeling more energetic and alert.

Sleep screening questionnaires

Sleep experts have created several questionnaires to measure sleep quality. Most of these questionnaires take 5–15 minutes to complete.

  • Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI)

This index contains 19 questions for you and five additional questions for your bed partner to assess subjective (or self-assessed) sleep habits and sleep quality over the past month.

  • PROMIS Sleep Disturbance

This model assesses self-reported sleep satisfaction, quality, and depth. The full version of this questionnaire evaluates 27 factors, though shorter versions exist that examine only four, six or eight factors. There is also an adaptive computerized version.

  • Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS)

This self-assessment examines eight factors to evaluate subjective daytime fatigue.

  • Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire (FOSQ)

This 30-item questionnaire examines the consequences of excessive fatigue on quality of life and everyday activities.

  • Geriatric Sleep Questionnaire (GSQ-6)

While all the sleep questionnaires listed above can work for everyone, there is one designed specifically for older adults, the GSQ-6. This six-item questionnaire, which assesses subjective sleep quality in seniors, is designed to be short and easy to understand and has been found to be useful for studying the connections between sleep quality and mental and physical health and wellness in the elderly.

The GSQ-6 asks these questions:

  • When you go to bed, how long does it usually take you to fall asleep?
  • After you go to bed, do you usually have trouble falling asleep?
  • How often do you wake up during the night?
  • Do you usually wake up spontaneously before the desired time?
  • Is waking up during the night or before the desired time a problem for you?
  • Normally, how is your sleep quality, regardless of the hours you sleep?

The importance of sleep for older adults

Getting enough sleep helps boost immunity, reduces stress levels, and lowers the risk of falls and injuries. It also promotes healthy brain function and memory. In addition, adequate sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and managing chronic health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep quality. Establishing a regular sleep schedule and sticking to it as much as possible can help regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Creating a calming bedtime routine can also be helpful. And avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and large meals before bedtime can promote better sleep.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping despite making these changes, talk to your doctor. They may be able to recommend other lifestyle changes or prescribe medication to help you get the restful sleep you need.

Crestwood Manor offers a full spectrum of senior health services, including personal care, skilled nursing and senior rehabilitation. Contact us to find out more.

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