Essay on The Prevalence Of Sleep Disorders

Essay on The Prevalence Of Sleep Disorders

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Out of all age groups, older adults have the highest rate of sleep disturbance (Williams, Kay, Rowe, & McCrae, 2013, p.712). This statistic defeats the stigma that older adults should have no trouble sleeping, because many are in retirement and have more time to fit sleep into their schedule. This topic is relevant to the current author because she works in a nursing home facility and assesses residents for sleep concerns as part of an overall mood assessment. From her experience, several of the residents she has spoken to have complained of trouble sleeping. The nature of the complaint usually revolves around trouble falling back asleep after waking up in the middle of the night, rather than trouble initiating sleep. This paper will discuss the prevalence of sleep disorders in late adulthood and several interventions.
Sleep disorders in late adulthood “may be classified as disorders in initiating or maintaining sleep, disorders of excessive sleepiness, and disrupted sleep-wake cycles” (Saxon, Etten, & Oerkins, 2015, p. 73). The prevalence of sleep disorders for this age group is about half of its population (Saxon et al., 2015, p. 74). According to Gooneratne et al. (2011), up to fifty-seven percent of older adults complain of sleep difficulties (p. 297). The difficulty does not necessarily mean it is a disorder, but there is also a possibility that it could become a disorder. Such difficulties include “trouble falling asleep, waking up, awaking too early, needing to nap, or not feeling rested” (McCrae, Vatthauer, Dzierzewski, & Marsiske, 2011, p. 156).
The research surrounding this topic has only transpired within the past few decades. Sleep disorders among older adults, which were previously only considered sleep tro...

... middle of paper ...

... bedtime” (p. 301). These are some simple behavioral modifications one can make to treat sleep problems. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that older adults sleep between seven and eight hours (Hirshkowitz, et al., 2015, p.41). Five to six hours or 9 hours of sleep is also appropriate, but less than five hours or more than nine hours is not recommended (Hirshkowitz, et al., 2015, p. 41). Hamilton and Taylor (2012) state that “although pharmacological treatments are useful for acute insomnia, cognitive and behavioral approaches are preferred for chronic insomnia and insomnia comorbid with other disorders” (p. 117). However, the availability of these approaches is limited due to the lack of trained therapists (p. 117). The scarcity of adequate community resources could explain why many older adults turn to self-treatment methods for their sleep troubles.

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