Quality sleep is essential to survival and quality of life. Insomnia occurring at least 3 nights a week for at least 3 months affects almost 50% of adults aged 65 and older, especially women, and causing significant daytime distress. Insomnia may include one or more symptoms: difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, and/or early morning awakening. Two internal biological mechanisms…
Quality sleep is essential to survival and quality of life. Insomnia occurring at least 3 nights a week for at least 3 months affects almost 50% of adults aged 65 and older, especially women, and causing significant daytime distress. Insomnia may include one or more symptoms: difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, and/or early morning awakening.
Two internal biological mechanisms – the brain’s circadian clock and the homeostatic sleep drive – work together to determine the timing and duration of sleep. Melatonin hormone produced by the pineal gland regulates the circadian clock and promotes sleep. But, as we age, neurophysiological and neurochemical changes affect melatonin production, making older adults prone to insomnia. Sleep disruptions in later life may also result from various sleep disorders, obesity, medications, nocturnal urinary frequency and chronic pain, as well as hormonal changes, neurodegeneration, psychiatric conditions, and medical comorbidities.
Why is treatment important?
Untreated insomnia is associated with impaired emotional, social, and physical well-being. People with insomnia are more prone to accidents, work-absenteeism, reduced job performance, decreased quality of life and increased utilization of health care. Furthermore, insomnia is a high-risk factor for health-related quality of life: cardiovascular disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and diabetes.
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