Sleep in aging
Sleep is essential to our well-being and occupies about a third of our lives. Without enough of it, we are subject to fatigue, clouded thinking, and diminished quality of life. For older people, these symptoms can be more than a matter of discomfort; they can lead to more serious complications. Falls resulting from fatigue and confusion, for example, can result in debilitating, costly injuries in this vulnerable population. The importance of recognizing and treating age-associated health problems, such as sleep disorders, takes on a new dimension as the USA’s elderly population grows to record numbers. In the next 50 years, the aged will make up a progressively greater proportion of the general population (Figure 5.1).