Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2007 Jun;14(1):5-12.

Sleep Physiology and Common Sleep Disorders in the Elderly

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Sleep changes substantially with age. There is a phase advance in the circadian sleep cycle and increased waking after sleep onset. The elderly people wake more frequently during the night and experience fragmented sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness. The prevalence of sleep disorders increases with age, and the composition of sleep disorders in the elderly differs from that in the young. The most frequently encountered sleep disorders are psychophysiologic insomnia, sleep disturbance due to dementia, sleep-related respiratory disorder, restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder, and REM sleep behavior disorder. To treat the elderly sleep problem appropriately, it is important to know how sleep pattern changes as we age and to understand the cause of sleep-related symptoms. This article will review the sleep physiology and common sleep disorders in the elderly.


Sleep physiology; Sleep disorders; The elderly
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