Rest assured. Sleep matters for older adults

An article from the Australian Sleep Health Foundation focuses on the topic of ageing and sleep, discussing how sleep patterns change as we grow older, common sleep problems among older adults, and potential causes and treatments for sleep disorders. Here are the key points:

1. Sleep patterns: Older adults may not get all their sleep at night and often have daytime naps. They may take longer to fall asleep, wake up more frequently, and spend less time in deep sleep.

2. Changes in sleep: The body clock gradually changes with age, causing hormonal shifts that can make older adults feel sleepy earlier and wake up in the early hours of the morning. Reduced melatonin production and factors like hot flushes and pain can also interfere with sleep.

3. Common sleep problems: Insomnia affects 4 in 10 older adults, while sleep apnoea and periodic limb movement disorder are prevalent in at least 1 in 4 older individuals. Medical conditions, such as arthritis, Parkinson’s, and heart disease, can also disrupt sleep.

4. Seeking help: If sleep problems persist and impact daytime well-being, individuals should consult their local doctor. You should also seek help if your partner notices abnormal breathing during sleep. Treatments for sleep disorders vary depending on the diagnosis and may involve seeing a sleep specialist or psychologist specialising in cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia.

5. Caution with medications: Some medications used to treat conditions common in older adults may interfere with sleep. Sleeping tablets should be used for a short duration and under medical guidance to avoid dependency and drowsiness.

6. Other contributors to sleep issues: Poor sleep can result from various factors, including stress, depression, anxiety, medications, and pain. Consulting with a doctor is advised to address concerns and ensure overall health.

Remember, good sleep is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being in older adults. By implementing these sleep tips, we can promote restful nights and contribute to a better quality of life

Wishing you all a peaceful and rejuvenating sleep!

For more information, visit the Sleep Health Foundation’s Information Library at

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