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SLEEP DISRUPTION IN OLDER ADULTS: Harmful and by no means inevitable, it should be assessed for and treated.

Cole, Catherine PhD, APRN-BC; Richards, Kathy PhD, RN, FAAN

AJN, American Journal of Nursing: May 2007 - Volume 107 - Issue 5 - p 40–49
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000268167.48606.74

Insomnia is not a normal part of aging, but nighttime sleep in older adults is often disrupted, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness and other physical, psychological, and cognitive changes that affect overall health. Even so, clinicians often pay little attention to sleep in this population. The sleep of older adults tends to be less deep than that of younger people, and coexisting conditions and treatment effects can more easily disrupt sleep. This article reviews the current literature on sleep disruption in older adults and suggests ways that nurses can apply the information in intervening to improve sleep in their older patients.

A recent study found that 69% of older adults reported at least one sleep complaint. How aware are you of the ties between sleep and health in this population?

Catherine Cole is an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Nursing in Little Rock, where Kathy Richards is the Alice An Loh Sun Professor of Gerontology. Richards is also the associate director for health services research at the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, Little Rock.

Contact Author: Catherine Cole,

This article presents the findings and conclusions of the authors and does not represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the VA's Health Services Research and Development Service. The authors of this article have no significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.