Discover Why Are Elderly Sleeping Too Much

Discover Why Are Elderly Sleeping Too Much

Elderly people are commonly known to sleep a lot and, according to some studies, they often spend more than eight hours per night asleep. One of the main causes of excessive sleepiness is fighting off old age and other long-term health conditions. Elderly people are commonly found snoring loudly and have sleep apnea. 

According to a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, elderly people are sleeping more than ever before. However, it can be difficult for them to get a good night’s sleep because of their usual tiredness and age-related issues like arthritis and other health problems. Many elderly people don’t get enough rest, leading to many health problems. In this post, we discuss the reasons why are elderly sleeping too much and what you can do to help them get a good night’s sleep.

Why Are Elderly Sleeping Too Much?

It’s common for older adults to experience changes in the quality and duration of their sleep. As individuals get older, their sleep changes due to the effects of a fading suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which is located in the pineal gland. 

A decrease in the function of the SCN can have an adverse impact on circadian rhythms, influencing when people experience sleep and wakefulness. This happens because after the age of 60 most people retire due to which their activities are reduced and the amount of time they spend in active sunlight decreases. Decreases in sunlight exposure lead to disruptions of the circadian rhythm.

The disruption of your circadian rhythm leads to changes in hormone production, such as melatonin and cortisol. These hormones, along with disrupted sleep, could also play a role in sleep problems in older adults. They normally produce melatonin in response to darkness in order to promote sleep, but as people get older, melatonin production is less. This is why are elderly sleeping too much.

Sleep issues that develop with age

Excessive sleep may occur for several reasons. Here are some of them:

Boredom and Lack of Engagement

As they age, many people experience health issues and age-related changes. A limited number of activities and outings can severely impact an elderly’s quality of life. They’re not working, and may have trouble reading or solving puzzles, while watching TV can become tedious. Elderly people may not feel clinically depressed, or even tired in these situations. They are simply bored. They are unable to set a schedule and have little to look forward to in life, so they nap all day.


The use of medication is a common practice in the face of degenerative conditions and other medical conditions. Research into the use of multiple medications in seniors revealed that over 40% used multiple drugs and that half of those surveyed had contraindicated combinations. Side effects are part of every drug. People who take more can have more side effects. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs that seniors take, such as medication for high blood pressure and chronic pain, can cause excessive sleepiness.

Worry, Stress, or Grief

Many life changes come with aging. Some of these changes are good. Some are very difficult. Losing someone you love, moving from your family home, or having a life-changing event can all cause stress. This can affect your sleep.

Talk to your doctor or counselor if you are experiencing these changes in yourself or someone you care about. This could help you sleep better and ease your mind.

Advancing Dementia

People with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia have a variety of sleep problems. Brain changes can cause problems with circadian rhythms, temporal awareness, and sleep patterns. This makes it difficult for dementia patients and their families to get up at night and maintain a regular schedule. Some patients find that sleeping during the day is their only option to get the rest of the sleep they need.

Sundowning and agitation are two of the symptoms of dementia. Caregivers can be frustrated by their inability to manage sleep deprivation. There aren’t many ways to ensure that dementia patients sleep through the night, and remain awake during the day. Prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills are not recommended.

Discover Why Are Elderly Sleeping Too Much

How to Get the Right Amount of Sleep

Even though sleep is important and beneficial, especially for seniors, it shouldn’t be the mainstay of their day. It is important to strike the right balance between being awake and getting enough sleep. It is easier to find the root cause of excessive sleepiness. Based on the possible causes, there are several changes that can improve your sleep quality.

Staying active: The intensity and amount of physical activities seniors engage in will depend on their ability and health. Regular walking, light aerobics, jogging, or Pilates are all options.

Being social: Boredom and depression can often result from isolation. Seniors need to keep in touch with their families and be social with their peers. A group such as a reading club, amateur theatre, or a book club could be a great activity.

Reviewing the use of medication: Ask your doctor for a list of all prescribed and non-prescription medications that are used to treat chronic conditions. This will help you understand how they might interact. You might find that some alternative treatments can be used to treat both excessive sleepiness and medical conditions.

Therapy: Talking with a psychiatrist or a psychologist can help you treat depression. Depression is often the root cause of fatigue and sleepiness during the day for the elderly.

Bedtime schedule: A regular bedtime and sleep schedule is the best way to improve your sleep quality and get enough sleep.


It is difficult to accept changes and learn how to live with them, no matter your age. Seniors face many challenges, both physically, mentally, and socially. We must accept these changes as we age and make every effort to live a fulfilled, happy life. It is a lifetime process to take care of your mental, physical, and emotional health. This includes sleep.


Yes, sleeping too much can be bad for the elderly. Some people who sleep too much can develop Alzheimer’s disease, which is a type of dementia.

There are many things you can do to help your elderly relatives sleep more. Try to make sure that your elderly relatives get enough exercise and rest.


It is important to keep elderly people on their toes by providing them with opportunities for rest and relaxation, as well as challenging them to stay active. You can also help them get a good night’s sleep by providing them with comfortable beds, quiet rooms, and effective sleep apnea treatments.

If you want to know more about different sleep related disorder check out here.

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