Journal of Aging and Geriatric Psychiatry

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Commentary - Journal of Aging and Geriatric Psychiatry (2023) Volume 7, Issue 4

Sleep Disorders in Older Adults: Diagnosis and Interventions

Kristen Walts*

Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carlolina, USA

*Corresponding Author:
Kristen Walts
Department of Psychiatry
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carlolina, USA

Received: 14-Jun-2023, Manuscript No. AAAGP-23-105661; Editor assigned: 16-Jun-2023, PreQC No. AAAGP-23-105661 (PQ); Reviewed: 29-Jun-2023, QC No. AAAGP-23-105661; Revised: 01-Jul-2023, Manuscript No. AAAGP-23-105661 (R); Published: 07-Jul-2023, DOI: 10.35841/aaagp-7.4.152

Citation: Walts K. Sleep disorders in older adults: Diagnosis and interventions. J Age Geriat Psych. 2023;7(4):152

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Sleep plays a vital role in maintaining overall health and well-being, and its importance becomes even more critical as individuals age. However, sleep disorders are increasingly common among older adults, impacting their quality of life and overall health. This article aims to explore the diagnosis and interventions for sleep disorders in older adults, providing valuable insights for healthcare professionals and caregivers [1].

Understanding sleep disorders in older adults: As individuals age, changes in sleep patterns and architecture occur naturally. Older adults may experience difficulties falling asleep, maintaining sleep throughout the night, or waking up too early. These changes can be attributed to various factors, including physiological changes, medical conditions, medication side effects, and psychological factors.

Diagnosis of sleep disorders: Accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective management of sleep disorders in older adults. Healthcare professionals should conduct a comprehensive assessment, considering medical history, sleep logs, and, if necessary, ordering sleep studies such as polysomnography or actigraphy [2]. Additionally, a thorough evaluation of underlying medical conditions and medication review is necessary to identify potential contributing factors.

Common sleep disorders in older adults

Insomnia: Characterized by difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep, insomnia is prevalent among older adults. Identification of underlying causes such as pain, anxiety, depression, or medication side effects is vital for appropriate intervention [3].

Sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder characterized by repetitive episodes of partial or complete cessation of breathing during sleep. It is particularly common among older adults and is associated with various health risks, including cardiovascular problems. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is often the primary treatment.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): RLS causes an irresistible urge to move the legs, often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations. Older adults with RLS may experience sleep disturbances, leading to daytime fatigue and reduced quality of life [4]. Medication and lifestyle modifications are commonly used for managing RLS symptoms.

Non-Pharmacological interventions

Sleep hygiene education: Educating older adults about practices that promote healthy sleep, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I): A structured approach that helps older adults address negative thoughts and behaviors affecting their sleep, promoting healthier sleep patterns.

Relaxation techniques: Incorporating relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation, can assist in calming the mind and preparing for sleep [5].

Pharmacological interventions

Medications may be considered when non-pharmacological interventions are insufficient or in cases where underlying medical conditions require additional treatment. Prescribing medications should be carefully evaluated, considering potential side effects, drug interactions, and the individual's overall health status.


Sleep disorders can significantly impact the health and wellbeing of older adults, necessitating proper diagnosis and intervention strategies. Healthcare professionals and caregivers should be knowledgeable about the various sleep disorders that commonly affect older adults and the interventions available. A comprehensive approach, including non-pharmacological interventions and, if necessary, pharmacotherapy, can help improve sleep quality, enhance overall health, and ultimately enhance the quality of life for older adults.


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