Women complain more about sleep than men, but polysomnography (PSG) seems to suggest worse sleep in men. This raises the question of how women (or men) perceive objective (PSG) sleep. The present study sought to investigate the relation between morning subjective sleep quality and PSG variables in older and younger women. A representative sample of 251 women was analysed in age groups above and below 51.5 years (median). PSG was recorded at home during one night. Perceived poor sleep was related to short total sleep time (TST), long wake within total sleep time (WTSP), low sleep efficiency and a high number of awakenings. The older women showed lower TST and sleep efficiency and higher WTSP for a rating of good sleep than did the younger women. For these PSG variables the values for good sleep in the older group were similar to the values for poor sleep in the young group. It was concluded that women perceive different levels of sleep duration, sleep efficiency and wake after sleep onset relatively well, but that older women adjust their objective criteria for good sleep downwards. It was also concluded that age is an important factor in the relation between subjective and objective sleep.
2016. Vol. 25, no 5