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Sleep in older people 

Sleep in older people
Sleep in older people

Joe Harbison

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date: 25 September 2021

Key points

Sleep structure and pattern change with age, sleep typically becoming lighter and more fragmented.

While sleep disorders may not be independently associated with age, they occur more commonly in older people due to co-morbidity.

Common ‘minor’ medical conditions may seriously impair sleep quality.

Neurological conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s, and dementia are often associated with sleep disorders which can be difficult to treat.

Circadian rhythm disorders are common in older people; primary insomnia is rare.

Respiratory sleep disorders are also common but their significance in many people is uncertain.

Effective treatments are available for restless legs syndrome and related disorders.

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