Objective: Aging is a natural biological phenomenon that occurs in human beings. With increasing of age, there is an appearance of deleterious changes related to progression onto pathological conditions, including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, hearing and vision impairments, as well as sleep disorders. It is important to recognize that some sleep disturbances reported by aged subjects include insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, among others. Moreover, accumulating evidence indicates that coexistence of medical issues with sleep disorders constitutes clinical challenges for treatment of comorbidities in elderly. Here, we have attempted to review and summarize the available literature that assesses the sleep disturbances in aging. In addition, we highlight the management of sleep disorders associated with aging. Due to the particular health condition of aged adults, the development of effective pharmacological interventions for sleep disorders treatment in aging is warranted.
Methods: Review of studies retrieved from the PubMed.
Results: The sleep-wake cycle includes abnormalities classified as sleep disorders. Comorbidity between sleep disturbances and aging-related health issues will represent a public health challenge to be addressed in the near future. Moreover, this scenario will suggest an area that requires further drug investigation and design of new pharmacological and pharmaceutical strategies to treat sleep disorders in the elderly population.
Conclusion: The review highlights the sleep disturbances in aging. We focus on current knowledge in medicinal chemistry and further design of new treatments tools for managing sleep disturbances in the aged population.
Keywords: Aging, insomnia, depression, slow wave sleep, obstructive sleep apnea, REM sleep.
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