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Sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, restless legs syndrome, and insomnia in geriatric patients.

Geriatrics 2002 November
Sleep disorders may affect one out of two older Americans and may present as insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, or both. Age-related changes seem to cause a decreased need for sleep. The average 70-year-old sleeps only 6 hours a night, but may obtain an additional hour or even 2 during daytime naps. Older adults also experience an increase in the number of sleep disruptions and an increased incidence of chronic diseases, which can contribute to poorer sleep in this group. The two most common geriatric sleep disorders are obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and restless legs syndrome. Detailed diagnostic workup and treatment are usually referred to a center for sleep medicine where polysomnographic studies are performed. Left untreated, sleep disorders may present a serious threat to the patient's health and lead to increased morbidity and mortality.

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