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Sleep and the older adult by Diana M. Taibi, PhD, RN

Sleep disturbances are among the most common difficulties experienced by older persons. Over half of older adults in the United States experience insomnia symptoms several nights a week (National Sleep Foundation, 2002; Ohayon, Carskadon, Guilleminault & Vitiello, 2004). Compared to younger adults, older adults tend to:

· take longer to fall asleep,
· wake up more frequently at night,
· spend more time awake during the night,
· get less total sleep, and
· feel unrefreshed after sleeping.

Older adults may not report difficulty sleeping because they believe it is a normal part of aging, although current evidence supports that both younger and older adults need 7-9 hours of sleep.

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