Older Adults and Insomnia Resource Guide

Introduction

Almost half of all older adults report problems with insomnia, defined as difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep. Insomnia has far-reaching and often subtle effects on health and quality of life, with substantial cost to society. Medically ill older adults are at particular risk for insomnia, since many medical illnesses disrupt sleep and impair alertness. Older adult insomnia is often treated pharmacologically, but older adults are especially vulnerable to adverse effects from hypnotic medication, such as memory impairment and impaired daytime performance. Fortunately, psychological interventions for insomnia have been developed and, especially in the last decade, applied to older adults with insomnia. The resource guide that follows includes research studies on a variety of important topics relevant to insomnia among older adults. These include the incidence and effects of insomnia, its causes, the measurement of insomnia, and outcome intervention studies. The interventions focus on psychological treatments of insomnia, including cognitive-behavioral techniques, sleep restriction and stimulus control approaches, and sleep hygiene. Additional resources, including health education materials for consumers, and national organizations, can be found at the end of this document.

Martita A. Lopez, PhD
University of Texas at Austin

 

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