Do older adults have more trouble sleeping than younger adults do?
Yes. Older adults are more prone to sleep complaints: insomnia due to changing sleep patterns of frequent awakenings, earlier rising, emotional problems. The quality of sleep declines with age. It becomes particularly more difficult to stay asleep. Daily sedation, boredom, loneliness, illness, time changes, work schedules, physical changes and alcohol or medication may affect sleep patterns. Sleep behaviors common to older adults may include increased napping, periods of sleep apnea (stopped breathing) more frequent awakenings, lengthened onset of sleep, increased time in bed and increased total sleep time. Current research verifies that REM (sleep in which dreaming takes place) deep sleep, in older adults may be half what it is in younger persons.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Tuesday, March 14, 2006