Sleep, health, and aging. Bridging the gap between science and clinical practice.
Problems with sleep are common with advancing years and occur in over half of adults age 65 and older. It has been estimated that insomnia affects about a third of the older population in this country. This inability to have restful sleep at night results in excessive daytime sleepiness, attention and memory problems, depressed mood, falls, and lowered quality of life. Other factors associated with aging, such as disease, changes in environment, or concurrent age-related processes also may contribute to problems of sleep. Data indicate that age by itself does not predict incident complaints of insomnia, even in the presence of lowered sleep efficiency and decreased proportion of slow-wave sleep. Rather, the prevalence of insomnia and other sleep disorders is high in the geriatric population due to the associated comorbidities common in late life. It is now evident that disturbance in sleep can also lead to adverse changes in functioning of a number of body systems.
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