Why older adults are sleeping less

April 1, 2020


For many older adults sleeping for 7-9 hours each night can seem unreachable. People have been led to believe that poor sleep is just a normal part of aging, but this isn’t the case. As you age, it is normal to experience changes in your sleeping patterns and habits but disturbed sleep and waking up feeling tired every day is not a normal part of aging. Your lack of sleep may be because you are suffering from a sleep disorder.


Health issues that are developed later in life can often be the cause of your sleeping issues. These include arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, indigestion, heart disease and lung diseases, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and menopause and post menopause. According to Everyday Health “sleep problems may be caused by physical, emotional, or hormonal conditions — everything from asthma to depression to menopause.”


Some common sleep changes in older adults that can affect their sleep include:

  • getting tired earlier in the evening and waking up early in the morning

  • waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep

  •  insomnia

According to Sleep Health Foundation 4 in 10 older adults suffer from insomnia, making it the most common sleep complaint of adults over 60. We recommend trying to identify what could be causing your insomnia. In a lot of cases emotional issue like stress, anxiety and depression are factors. Your daytime habits, sleep routine, and physical health may also play a part.


As you age your body produces less growth hormone, meaning you’ll likely spend less time in stage 3 (deep sleep