Primary sleep disorders are most common in men and women over the age of 65. About half of the people claim to have some sleep problem at one point. It is most common in the elderly because of multiple factors. Factors include increased medication use, age-related changes in circadian rhythms, environmental and lifestyle changes [3] and pre diagnosed physiological problems and stress. The risk of developing sleep disorders in the elderly is especially increased for sleep disordered breathing, periodic limb movements, lestless legs syndrome, REM sleep behavior disorders, insomnia and circadian rhythm disturbances.[3]
In addressing sleep disorders and possible solutions, there is often a lot of buzz surrounding melatonin. Research suggests that melatonin is useful in helping people to fall asleep faster (decreased sleep latency), to stay asleep longer, and to experience improved sleep quality. In order to test this, a study was conducted that compared subjects that had taken Melatonin to subjects that had taken a placebo pill in subjects with primary sleep disorders. Researchers assessed sleep onset latency, total minutes slept, and overall sleep quality in the Melatonin and placebo groups to note the differences. In the end, researchers found that melatonin decreased sleep onset latency, increased total sleep time, and improved quality of sleep significantly more than the placebo group.[49][50]
Chronic sleep disorders in childhood, which affect some 70% of children with developmental or psychological disorders, are under-reported and under-treated. Sleep-phase disruption is also common among adolescents, whose school schedules are often incompatible with their natural circadian rhythm. Effective treatment begins with careful diagnosis using sleep diaries and perhaps sleep studies. Modifications in sleep hygiene may resolve the problem, but medical treatment is often warranted.[35]
In the UK, knowledge of sleep medicine and possibilities for diagnosis and treatment seem to lag. Guardian.co.uk quotes the director of the Imperial College Healthcare Sleep Centre: "One problem is that there has been relatively little training in sleep medicine in this country – certainly there is no structured training for sleep physicians."[55] The Imperial College Healthcare site[56] shows attention to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA) and very few other sleep disorders. Some NHS trusts have specialist clinics for respiratory and/or neurological sleep medicine.

Interestingly, it has been shown that the sleep-wake cycle acts on the beta-amyloid burden which is a central component found in AD.[29][30] Indeed, during waking, the production of beta-amyloid protein will be more consistent than during sleep.[29][30][32] This is explained by two phenomena. The first is that the metabolic activity will be higher during waking and thus will secrete more beta-amyloid protein.[29][30] The second is that oxidative stress will also be higher and lead to increased AB production.[29][30]

"has demonstrated expertise in the diagnosis and management of clinical conditions that occur during sleep, that disturb sleep, or that are affected by disturbances in the wake-sleep cycle. This specialist is skilled in the analysis and interpretation of comprehensive polysomnography, and well-versed in emerging research and management of a sleep laboratory."[51]
Stay cool at night. Make sure your bedroom is at the right temperature to help ensure a good night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests setting the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. Using cooling sheets and pillows can also help, especially for women in menopause who are experiencing hot flashes at night, says Dr. Alyssa Dweck, assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and co-author of “V is for Vagina.”
×