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Sleep Disorders in Elderly May Be Caused By Aging

elder old older couple bed sleep asleep

The benefits of getting good quality sleep on a regular basis are well documented, and as people age the benefits of quality sleep only increase. A study shows, however, that the way the body ages naturally may contribute to sleep disorders. A study of 970 people aged 30 to 60 years of age suggests that the retinal reception of blue light is associated with circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. When the body ages naturally, the retinal lens yellows, reducing the amount of blue light received and disrupting sleep patterns.

Decreased sleep is a common problem for the elderly and can be linked to a number of quality of life deficiencies.  These patients are commonly prescribed antidepressants, which are good at inducing sleep but also have side effects such as day time drowsiness, increasing the risk of accidents. Cataract surgery is a process that replaces the retinal lens, but information regarding it’s effectiveness in controlling sleep disorders is lacking. The natural yellowing of the retinal lens will not visually impair the sufferer, however it may contribute to insomnia and be harmful to quality of life.

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