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Older adults more likely to experience sleep disturbances

August 20, 2012

Recent research found nodding off during the day may raise seniors' stroke risk, and now another study highlights the sleep challenges faced by many older adults. Medical experts say many aging baby boomers are encountering sleep problems ranging from apnea to insomnia, The Boston Globe reports.

The reason behind the link may be due to the fact that older adults experience changes to their body clocks that may make them more vulnerable to conditions that can threaten a restful night's sleep. Furthermore, certain medications or other conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, can also play a role.

Despite the prevalence of sleep issues, experts say older adults recognize that snoring is not a natural part of healthy aging, so there has been a growing emphasis on addressing the problem rather than ignoring it.

"It used to be that people would come in and say, 'I'm snoring and it's become a problem for my wife," Dr. Doug Kirsch told the Globe. "Now people understand that if they're not breathing at night, it has an effect on their work performance and their health."

Seniors having trouble sleeping are not powerless to curb the problem. According to EverydayHealth, small changes in lifestyle such as sticking to a schedule, limiting caffeine and alcohol and avoiding naps during the day can all have a positive impact.