Key Points

Age-related changes in sleep physiology, multi-morbidity and sedentary lifestyles make older adults vulnerable to sleep disturbances.  As older adults age, there are changes to total sleep time, time spent in deep sleep and altered sleep patterns.  Sleep physiology changes with increased nocturnal awakenings and daytime napping.  Research has shown older adults spend more time in bed without good sleep efficacy.  Late life insomnia often occurs due to secondary causes such as medical conditions, medications, neuropsychiatric illnesses.  Learn more about sleep disturbances in older adults.

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Sleep Disturbance in Older Adults Handout

References

Flaherty, J. (2008). Insomnia among Hospitalized Older Patients. Clinics in Geriatrics Medicine:24:51-67.

Kamel, N.S., & Gammack, J.K. (2006). Insomnia in the elderly: Cause, Approach and Treatment. The American Journal of Medicine 119, 463-469.

Martin, J.L., Alam, T., & Alessi, C.A. (2007). Sleep Disorders. In R. J. Ham, P.D. Sloan, G.A. Warshaw, M.A Bernard & E. Flaherty (Eds). Primary Care Geriatrics: A Case-Based Approach (5th Ed). New York: Mosby Elsevier: pp. 391-400.

Subramanian, S. & Surani, S. (2007). Sleep disorders in the elderly. Geriatrics, 62(12):10-32.