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Sleep in older adults 

Sleep in older adults
Chapter:
Sleep in older adults
Author(s):

Rosalia Silvestri

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199682003.003.0050
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date: 01 December 2020

Significant and progressive sleep alterations occur in elderly people, including both circadian and ultradian modifications of sleep. Among these, reduced melatonin and a diminished role of environmental zeitgebers impair sleep rhythmicity, with a tendency toward polyphasic sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). The loss of slow-wave sleep (SWS) and EDS are significant, along with behavioral and cognitive alterations in patients with dementia. Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) and restless legs syndrome (RLS)/Willis–Ekbom disease may further aggravate the burden of insomnia and sleep fragmentation, thereby favoring multiple nocturnal arousals with sympathetic activation and cardiovascular dysfunction.

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