Many health issues, including sleep problems, are linked to aging. In fact, inadequate sleep can exacerbate many of these issues, lowering quality of life in seniors. Changes in the quality and length of sleep are frequent in older persons. Changes in the body’s internal clock cause many of these changes.
It is a fallacy, according to the studies, that elderly people require less sleep than younger people. Many older persons struggle to get the sleep they require, but this does not indicate they require less sleep. Sleep requirements may decrease from childhood through maturity, but this trend appears to halt around the age of 60.
People age in different ways. While some older persons may experience no substantial sleep interruptions, others report obtaining less sleep and having poorer sleep quality. Several common sleep problems in older individuals have been identified by experts:
Shifting sleep schedule: As people get older, their circadian rhythms advance in time. A phase advance is the term for this change. Many older people notice that they are getting weary sooner in the afternoon and waking up earlier in the morning as this phase progresses.
Waking up at midnight: Research has revealed that as people age, their sleep architecture changes. The way humans’ cycle through the various stages of sleep is referred to as sleep architecture. Older people spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep and less time in the deeper stages of sleep. These changes may lead to older adults waking up more frequently at night7 and having less restful, fragmented sleep.
Napping throughout the day: According to research, roughly 25% of older adults snooze during the day, compared to around 8% of younger adults. While some experts believe that a short daytime nap is healthy, many others believe that extended napping and sleeping later in the day can make it difficult to fall asleep at nightfall and impair night time sleep.
Longer recovery from changes in sleep schedule: Changes in how the body regulates circadian rhythms make it more difficult for elderly people to adjust to unexpected changes in sleep schedules, such as during daylight savings time or when suffering from jet lag.
Common sleep problems in old age people
Sleep scholars estimate that between 40% and 70% of older persons suffer from persistent sleep problems, with up to half of these cases being undiagnosed. Chronic sleep disorders can considerably impede daily activities and lower quality of life in older adults.
Sleep problems in older people include:
- Night time urination
- Daytime drowsiness
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
- REM sleep behaviour disorder
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