Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy

Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy
Open Access

ISSN: 2167-0277

+44 7868 792050


Sleeping through the Ages: An Examination of Sleep in Older Adults

Pennie S Seibert, Jennifer Valerio, Codieann Dehaas, Danielle Nebeker, Fred Grimsley and Christian G Zimmerman

It is widely recognized that sleep disorders (SD) are highly prevalent, despite being under diagnosed and under treated in practice. SDs occurs at all ages, although presentation and subsequent consequences for an individual's health varies throughout the lifespan. Currently, evaluation of SDs are inadequate across all age ranges, and for both sexes, as they are compromised by under reporting and relying on self-report, rather than professional sleep studies (i.e., nocturnal polysomnography (NPS) and multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT)). Moreover, there is a paucity of data specific to the elderly; many older individuals report dissatisfaction with quality of sleep. Indeed, literature has shown that geriatric populations spend less time in slow-wave sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and have more difficulties maintaining sleep. Their dissatisfaction may occur from changes in sleep architecture associated with the aging process; however, it has been suggested that it largely stems from comorbid illness, social problems, hormonal effects, altered circadian rhythms, or side effects of medications that are common in the elderly. Further, geriatric sleep is related to depression, impaired health and functioning, and weaker/ less synchronized circadian rhythms. In response, we utilized a 111-item questionnaire in conjunction with NPS, MSLT, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and medical chart reviews of individuals referred for SD evaluation to compare sleep in geriatrics with adults. Analysis revealed numerous differences between adult and geriatric groups, with the elderly experiencing more SDs, longer sleep latencies, and fewer sleep complaints. Based on the outcomes of this investigation, we posit further consideration to SDs across the age groups to achieve the best health care and quality of life for all.