Sleep duration and vegetable consumption are associated with mortality at old age (termed as sleep-mortality linkage and vegetable-mortality linkage, respectively). Yet, little is known about the interplay of sleep duration and vegetable consumption on mortality.
A dataset of nationwide longitudinal survey with 13,441 participants aged 65 years or older recruited in 2008 and followed up till 2014 was used. Sleep duration was classified into five groups (≤5, 6, 7-8, 9, and ≥ 10 h/day). Vegetable consumption was classified as either high frequency (eating vegetables almost daily) or low frequency. We used parametric Weibull hazard regression models to estimate associations of sleep duration and frequency of vegetable consumption with mortality, adjusting for demographics, socioeconomic factors, family/social support, health practice, and health conditions.
Over the six-year study period, when only demographics were present, participants sleeping ≤5, 6, 9, and ≥ 10 h/day had relative hazard (RH) of mortality 1.18 (p < 0.001), 1.14(p < 0.01), 1.06 (p > 0.1), and 1.30 (p < 0.001), respectively, compared to those sleeping 7-8 h/day. The HRs were attenuated to 1.08 (p < 0.05), 1.08 (p < 0.05), 1.09 (p < 0.1), 1.18(p < 0.001), respectively, when all other covariates were additionally adjusted for. High frequency of eating vegetables was associated with 22% lower risk of mortality (RH= 0.78, p < 0.001) compared to low frequency in the demographic model, and with 9% lower risk (RH = 0.91, p < 0.05) in the full model. Subpopulation and interaction analyses show that the sleeping-mortality linkage was stronger in female, urban, oldest-old (aged ≥80), and illiterate participants compared to their respective male, rural, young-old, and literate counterparts. High frequency of vegetable intakes could offset the higher mortality risk in participants with short-sleeping duration, but low frequency of eating vegetables could exacerbate mortality risk for participants with either short or long sleep duration; and except for few cases, these findings held in subpopulations.
Too short and too long sleep durations were associated with higher mortality risk, and infrequent vegetable consumption could exacerbate the risk, although frequent vegetable intake could offset the risk for short sleep duration. The relationship between these two lifestyles and mortality was complex and varied among subpopulations.