February 15, 2007

Sleep disturbances common in older people can lead to an increased risk of falling during waking hours, according to research published in the latest issue of The Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences (Vol. 62A, No. 1). In a special section devoted to sleep disorders, this edition of the journal features four separate reports on the topic.

A team of Australian researchers found a link between falls and a poor quality of nighttime sleep using a sample group of 300 individuals over the age of 65. Fewer falls were reported by those participants without any sleep disturbances.

Other articles in the special section then outline the latest methods in evaluating and addressing sleep patterns among nursing home residents. These can be less invasive tools than traditional polysomnography, allowing for observations in a more natural setting.