As people get older, their sleep patterns change. While older adults need
about 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, many often get less sleep,
which may make them more susceptible to health problems, says the American
Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
Many older adults often have more trouble falling asleep than persons in
other age groups. A study of adults over the age of 65 found that 13% of men
and 36% of women take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.
There are many other possible explanations for changes in older adults’
sleep patterns, says James P. Krainson, MD, of the South Florida Sleep
Diagnostic Center in Miami and a spokesperson for AASM. For example, older
adults may produce and secrete less melatonin, the hormone that promotes
Krainson says that, although sleep patterns change as people age, disturbed
sleep and waking up tired every day are not part of normal aging. Therefore,
the AASM is recommending that those who have trouble sleeping should see a