Sleep Patterns and Aging

aged coupleAs we age, the way we sleep changes. This can be attributed to the aging process also affecting our sleep. A recent article published in has offered several insights on sleep patterns while aging.

  • Sleep efficiency (the time spent asleep compared to time in bed), falls from its high values in youth (95%-98%) to 70%-80% in older age

  • The amount of light sleep increases with age, and the amount of deep sleep is reduced.

  • The arousal threshold falls as we age, so that sounds and other interruptions are more likely to awaken us.

  • The normal circadian pattern (24-hour rhythm) of sleep gradually weakens, and sleep tends increasingly to be spread across the 24-hour day rather than being consolidated in the nighttime sleep period.

  • The most problematic and long-term sleep difficulties in the elderly are due to medical conditions (for example, respiratory disease, arthritis, and heart disease) and psychiatric problems (such as clinical depression and dementia).

  • Poor sleep habits can worsen the physiological changes associated with aging. Therefore, by simply changing these habits, the sleep problem may be reduced or eliminated, resulting in a better quality of life.

  • Sleep apnoea refers to breathing problems during sleep, and is estimated to affect 1 out of every 4 people over the age of 60.

  • About half of all people aged 65 or over experience twitching in the legs and sometimes the arms during the night. When these twitches and jerks are prominent and frequent, the condition is called periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD).

  • Older people are more prone to REM sleep behaviour disorder. In persons with this disorder, during the dreaming part of sleep (called the rapid eye movement or REM part of sleep), the person enacts his or her dreams (striking out, swearing, falling, etc.), and it can lead to self-injury or injury of your bed partner.

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Somnowell Inventor - Visiting Professor Simon Ash FDS MSc MOrth BDS

Prof. Ash is the inventor of the highly successful SOMNOWELL Chrome device for snoring and sleep apnoea.

The Somnowell Chrome is made to exacting standards in the Somnowell laboratory under the supervision of Visiting Professor Simon Ash. Prof. Ash and his master technicians create each Somnowell Chrome device using their wealth of experience and expertise.

Prof. Ash works at the forefront of his profession. He is a Consultant and Specialist Orthodontist with over 30 years clinical experience, with a special interest in sleep related breathing disorders, TMJD, and bruxism. He currently works in Harley Street London and two private hospitals in London as part of a multi-disciplinary team managing snoring and sleep apnoea, and is Visiting Professor of Orthodontics at the BPP University.