The relationship between sleep health and multimorbidity in community dwelling populations: Systematic review and global perspectives

Patricia Nistor*, Brittany Chang-Kit, Kathryn Nicholson, Kelly K Anderson, Saverio Stranges

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has identified a relationship between sleep problems and multimorbidity, defined as the co-occurrence of two or more chronic health conditions in the same individual. This systematic review sought to summarize the literature on the association between sleep duration and quality and multimorbidity in adult community-dwelling populations. A comprehensive search of the PubMed, Embase and CINAHL databases identified studies published between January 1990 and January 2023. Studies were included if they focused on community-dwelling populations, used an observational design, measured sleep quality or duration, used multimorbidity as the main study outcome, and explored the relationship between sleep and multimorbidity. Two reviewers independently conducted study screening, data extraction, and bias assessments. Twenty-four cross-sectional and five prospective cohort studies met the inclusion criteria, with studies from 16 countries and two with cross-country comparisons, and a total participant number of 481,862. Overall, poorer sleep quality and sleep duration outside current recommendations were consistently associated with multimorbidity, though with varying strength. This association was present regardless of specific multimorbidity definitions from different studies. Definitions of sleep duration and quality were inconsistent across studies, possibly contributing to mixed evidence on the observed association. Most studies were cross-sectional, limiting the assessment of the temporal direction of association. Our results corroborate relationships between poor sleep and risk of multimorbidity in adult community-dwelling populations around the world. Examining this relationship may help increase public health awareness of sleep as a modifiable risk factor for the prevention of chronic disease and healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-284
Number of pages15
JournalSleep Medicine
Early online date15 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


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