Everyone needs a good night’s sleep, but many older people don’t sleep well. In fact, the Mayo Clinic reports that it is normal as one ages to sleep less and spend less time in the rapid eye movement cycle. There are many reasons why sleep may be disturbed in older people.
Some medicines can disrupt sleep, as can pain. Physical discomforts, such as needing to use the bathroom or move an achy joint are common culprits, as is alcohol near bedtime, which may help you fall asleep but also makes it more likely you will wake up in the night. There are medical conditions that cause insomnia including sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. Alzheimer’s disease often changes a person’s sleeping habits and can disrupt the caregiver’s sleep as well.