Sleep disorders and aging

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The common complaint by older adults of sleep disturbance can arise from a multitude of causes.Recent literature suggests three major considerations regarding sleep disorders and aging: the recognition of the multifactorial nature of sleep disorders in elderly people; the need to, wherever possible, treat the primary illness rather than the symptom of sleep disturbance; the importance of taking a conservative approach to prescription of hypnotic drugs. Also reviewed is the emerging literature elucidating the interactions of circadian rhythms with sleep quality and suggesting a number of potentially useful therapies, particularly melatonin administration, for treating sleep disturbance based on circadian principles.

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