Get access

Prevalence and Comorbidity of Insomnia and Effect on Functioning in Elderly Populations

Authors

  • Sonia Ancoli-Israel PhD,

    1. From the *Department of PsychiatryDepartment of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, CaliforniaVeterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jana R. Cooke MD

    1. From the *Department of PsychiatryDepartment of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, CaliforniaVeterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California.
    Search for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Sonia Ancoli-Israel, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Diego, 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92161. E-mail: sancoliisrael@ucsd.edu

Abstract

A good night's sleep is often more elusive as we age, because the prevalence of insomnia in older people is high. Insufficient sleep can have important effects on daytime function by increasing the need to nap, reducing cognitive ability including attention and memory, slowing response time, adversely affecting relationships with friends and family, and contributing to a general sense of being unwell. However, rather than aging per se, circadian rhythm shifts, primary sleep disorders, comorbid medical/psychiatric illnesses, and medication use cause sleep difficulties in older people, which psychosocial factors may also affect. Clinicians should ask elderly patients about satisfaction with sleep. Any sleep complaints warrant careful evaluation of contributing factors and appropriate treatment.

Ancillary