As you age your body produces lower levels of growth hormone, so you’ll likely experience a decrease in slow wave or deep sleep (an especially refreshing part of the sleep cycle). When this happens you produce less melatonin, meaning you’ll often experience more fragmented sleep and wake up more often during the night.
Physiologic changes of aging, environmental conditions, and chronic medical illnesses contribute to insomnia in the elderly. Sleep disturbance in the elderly is associated with decreased memory, impaired concentration, and impaired functional performance.
It’s a myth that you need less sleep as you get older. Older adults still need the same amount of sleep as younger adults — seven or more hours per night. Older adults still need the same amount of sleep as younger adults — seven or more hours per night.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, older adults normally need anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Some sleep experts suggest sleeping a bit longer is better for someone like an 80-year-old man.
As people age, they tend to sleep more lightly than when they were younger. Waking up during the night due to achy joints or the need to use the restroom becomes commonplace. Many seniors compensate for this lost sleep by catching a restorative nap during the day.
Additional common causes of insomnia include:
What Causes Excessive Sleep in the Elderly? Sleep deprivation is the most common cause of daytime sleepiness. This can be caused by something as simple as a too-warm room, too much coffee during the day or achy joints at night. Sometimes daytime fatigue stems from boredom.
Scientists agree that sleep is essential to health, and while stages 1 to 4 and REM sleep are all important, deep sleep is the most essential of all for feeling rested and staying healthy. The average healthy adult gets roughly 1 to 2 hours of deep sleep per 8 hours of nightly sleep.
Most healthy older adults age 65 or older need 7-8 hours of sleep each night to feel rested and alert. But as you age, your sleep patterns may change. These changes can cause insomnia, or trouble sleeping.
“Older adults can get shorter because the cartilage between their joints gets worn out and osteoporosis causes the spinal column to become shorter,” he says. “Adults can also lose lean muscle mass but gain fat. Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and fracture, which can also cause a person to become shorter.
What Factors Affect Sleep Quality?
If you cannot sleep for more than a few hours per night, you may have sleep deprivation. In addition, regular sleep interruptions from things like night terrors or “sleep starts” can also lead to sleep deprivation. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, your sleep deprivation may be caused by insomnia.