Sleep Disorders

Sleep and Age

Sleep Disorders Guide

Getting a good night's sleep may become more difficult as we get older. According to the National Sleep Foundation, middle aged and elderly people experience at least four types of sleep disorders more frequently than younger people. These include:

  • sleep apnea
  • restless legs syndrome
  • periodic limb movement disorder
  • advanced sleep phase syndrome

For more specific information on these conditions, please see "Sleep Disorders Lab."

In addition, many medical problems such as arthritis, osteoporosis and depression can produce or eventually lead to symptoms that interrupt sleep. (Read about "Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases" "Osteoporosis" "Depressive Illnesses")

Even if serious sleep disorders are not present, we may experience other changes. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) says our sleep-wake cycle changes as we get older, so we might get sleepy earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. Older adults may also have more trouble falling asleep at night, or have problems staying asleep. They might wake up very early in the morning and not be able to go back to sleep. All these things can make older people very sleepy in the daytime.

For more information, please click here.