Normal And Abnormal Sleep Patterns

909 Words4 Pages
As we age, we may experience normal changes in our sleep patterns. For example, one might find it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep or even get fewer hours of sleep. In this paper, I will discuss normal and problematic or abnormal sleeping pattern changes that occur after the age of fifty. By predicting and educating the elderly regarding these changes and understanding why they occur, we, as health care providers, can help the elderly population experience longer, more restful sleep, which can lead to better health. First, let us address the importance of having an adequate amount of sleep. According to Edwards and et al (2010), sleep is a, “vital physiological process with important restrictive functions that are essential for optimal day-time functioning.” There are both normal and abnormal age-related changes that occur in sleep patterns. For instance, one of the normal age- related changes that occur in sleep patterns is that sleep becomes more scattered and lighter with an increase in the number of awakenings (Cooke & Ancoli-Israel, 2011). In fact, there is a “reduction in the amount of slow wave sleep” that begins in middle –age and after the age of ninety; the deeper stages of sleep are completely absent (Cooke & Ancoli-Israel, 2011). Although the elderly may spend more time in bed, they have deterioration in both the quality and quantity of sleep. This can lead to daytime sleepiness, which in turn can lead to unintentional or intentional napping (Cooke and
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