Sleep Quality in Older Adults: A Review of Associated Mechanisms
Jessica Stephens, Robert J Gatchel
Annals of Sleep Medicine
Overview Substantial growth of the elderly population is expected across the planet over the next few decades, with those over 60 years of age reaching about 2 billion, or 22% of the world's population by 2050 . As one ages, numerous concerns commonly arise. One important aspect of healthy aging that can permeate other facets of life may be the duration and quality of one's sleep. The scientific consensus seems to affirm that getting adequate sleep is essential, although it is not currently
... racticed by the majority of adults . This may be especially so in the case of older adults, a classification by the World Health Organization (WHO) which defines an older adult as one who is above the age of 60, and/or currently considered to be elderly or retired from an occupation by their nation of residence, while also appreciating that national and socioeconomic indicators relate to variations in life expectancy and health for the population . As one advances in age, it has been found that they tend to fall asleep later, have reduced time spent within crucial rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and have reduced overall duration and quality of sleep  . Abstract With the growing appreciation that sleeping habits interact with health and aging, it is now imperative to increase our understanding of exactly how sleep and age interact, influence one another, and contribute to a person's overall health and wellness. Recent studies on sleep and aging have produced some insight into the interplay among the mechanisms that govern sleep, such as circadian rhythms, neurodegenerative processes, neurological illnesses, and genetic factors that are associated with an aging population. The present review will provide an updated understanding of the relationship among aging, health, sleep deficits, circadian influences, and neurodegeneration. Gaining an understanding of these mechanisms may propel future research and treatment developments for age-related sleep deficiency and resulting health consequences.