Sleep and health in older adults

Junxin Li, Nalaka S. Gooneratne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Sleep characteristics can change considerably with aging. The homeostatic sleep drive and circadian rhythm are less robust in older adults than in young adults. Age-related changes in sleep make older adults more prone to developing sleep problems; however, disturbed sleep is not a part of normal aging. Disturbed sleep or sleep problems in aging are largely due to existing medical conditions and polypharmacy use in older adults. Research suggests that disturbed sleep can also result in a range of adverse health outcomes in older adults. This chapter provides a brief overview of changes of sleep in normal aging, sleep disorders in older adults, and current evidence on the relationship between sleep and health outcomes including cognitive functions, cardiovascular health, psychiatric illnesses, and pain in older adults. More research that examine these associations are needed. Future research also needs to explore whether adding strategies that promote sleep health could benefit the management of concurrent medical conditions and vice versa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSleep and Health
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780128153734
ISBN (Print)9780128153741
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Aging
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Cognition
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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