Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2001 Jun;8(1):5-10.

Insomnia in the Elderly

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Paik Hospital, Inje University.


The prevalence of insomnia and the degree of impairment due to insomnia is greater than in the young. The cause for insomnia in the elderly are various factors among the elderly is known to be high including medical, psychiatric, drug issues, circadian rhythm changes, sleep disorders, and psychosocial. So the careful evaluation to find the cause of insomnia is needed for the elderly. Treatment options for insomnia include behavior modification and pharmacotherapy. Outcome data from previous studies indicate that behavioral approaches produce reliable and durable therapeutic benefits, as evidenced by improved sleep efficiency and continuity and enhanced satisfaction with sleep patterns. Treatment methods such as stimulus control and sleep restriction, which target maladaptive sleep habits, are especially beneficial for older insomniacs, whereas relaxation-based interventions aimed at decreasing arousal, produce more limited effects. Cognitive and educational interventions are instrumental in altering age-related dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep. The choice of hypnotics is based on matching the nature of the insomnia to the hypnotic agent. The ideal agent has rapid onset, duration of action that lasts through the night but no residual daytime effects, and no adverse effects. The key for the healthcare professional is finding the appropriate treatment or treatment combination, including behavioral modification and pharmacotherapy. When hypnotics are indicated, the most appropriate short-acting agent should be considered.


Insomnia; Elderly; Non-pharmacological management; Pharmacotherapy
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