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Senior Citizens Have a Harder Time Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Last updated: Friday 22nd February 2013

Sleep research this week has highlighted issues associated with lack of sleep that occurs commonly amongst senior citizens. Studies have documented seniors take longer to sleep and wake up more regularly in the middle of the night, which can make it seem like they require greater amounts of sleep than anyone else.

The M.D of the Sleep Center at Baylor Medical Center, Jack Gardner suggests there are numerous reasons as to why the elderly experience sleep deprivation. These consist of medicinal side effects, anxiety and health issues such as chronic pain. It was also found that ‘’advanced sleep syndrome’’ is a further reason for lack of sleep amongst the seniors, as they continue to remain awake until later like they did in their youth. This can cause an unbalance with their circadian rhythms as their bodies require earlier sleep and wake times.

Statistics found in this study indicate that seniors over the age of 65 on average take around 30 minutes extra to fall asleep. This was found to be more common amongst senior women at a rate of 36% in comparison to a modest 13% figure recorded amongst senior men. Later sleep times can cut into the recommended 7 hours the already are required to sleep per night, leading to greater fatigue amongst the elderly.

Even though the elderly require the same sleep since their 20’s, they still continue to experience poor sleep quality. It is has been recommended that for the elderly population to gain a more restful slumber is that they make their way to bed when their body clock begins to cue that it is bedtime. They should also avoid consuming stimulating substances such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol as these can aggravate their existing sleep deprivation.


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