Why do Older People Sleep so much during the Daytime?

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Sleep has always been considered one of the most important things in a person’s life. It is the time when your body and mind rest and restore themselves. Older people often sleep more than younger people, for a variety of reasons. 

The older you get, the more your body and mind need sleep to function at their best. In fact, most experts believe that the average person needs around 7-8 hours of sleep per night. However, some older people seem to need even more sleep than this.

It is quite normal to experience a few changes in our sleep patterns and sleep architecture as we get older. These normal changes in your body and some health issues can cause you to sleep more during the day as you age. 

Daytime sleepiness may be frustrating for some older people and their loved ones, but there are several reasons why older people sleep more during the day.

We will go over some of the main reasons behind this phenomenon as well as discuss some possible impacts it may have on older adults' health and well-being in this blog post.

Reasons for Daytime Sleepiness


As old age sets in, engagement with the outside world reduces. When the quality of life is negatively affected due to limited interaction with the outside world, the quality of life also suffers. The elderly also develop various health conditions that limit their ability to move. A sense of lethargy and tiredness surrounds the mind. They began to feel boredom.

The reduced physical activities and stimulation from the environment also lead to low energy levels in older adults. It leads to sleeping less at the night and more during the day.

Medication Effects

Due to various health ailments, older people are on medication. In most cases, medicines help control the symptoms and effects of ailments, but they also have side effects. 

A number of medications, such as certain types of antidepressants and blood pressure medications, can cause sleep problems as a side effect.

These drugs may lead to difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking up during the night, and waking up too early in the morning. 

Some medications, such as pain medications and allergy medications, can also make you feel drowsy and make it easier to fall asleep, however, they can interfere with the quality of your sleep and make you feel groggy in the morning when you wake up.


There are many sleep disorders that can disrupt your life as you age. One of the most common disorders that can disrupt your life is insomnia. 

A person may have difficulty falling asleep, wake up frequently during the night, or wake up too early in the morning. As a result, it affects the quality of sleep at night and this can have a damaging effect on both your physical and psychological health.

Older people may feel tired and lethargic during the day, and they may have difficulty concentrating and remembering things. A lack of sleep can also lead to mood changes and irritability, as well as an increased risk of heart disease, depression, and anxiety.

As a result of the change in sleep patterns, the elderly tend to sleep more during the day than during the night.

Benign prostate enlargement (BPE)

Enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is also quite common among older men. 

As the prostate gland enlarges, it puts pressure on the urethra, which causes difficulty in urinating, and a feeling that the bladder has not been completely empty. It leads to frequent trips to the bathroom at night. 

This can lead to disrupting the sleep cycle and cause frequent awakenings, which will result in poor-quality sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to feelings of tiredness, fatigue, as well as sleepiness.


One of the most common complaints by families is that seniors with dementia sleep a lot. During the different stages of dementia, patients will become more and more sleepy as they progress through the stages. 

It can be a result of a variety of factors, including a person's medications, level of confusion or disorientation, as well as their overall physical and mental health. 

Additionally, because people with dementia often have difficulty expressing their needs and feelings, they may not be able to express how tired they are or how sleepy they feel. They sleep excessively during the day and may feel confused about their changing sleep patterns

As a result of impaired circadian rhythm, people with dementia have trouble telling day from night. They stay awake at odd night hours and sleep at odd hours. 

Families have to be supportive of the elderly suffering from dementia.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) and Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD)

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a disorder that causes a strong urge to move one's legs. This condition is more common in older adults and can be associated with other medical conditions, such as iron deficiency, kidney failure, and Parkinson's disease. A person suffering from RLS typically has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night. 

There are usually uncomfortable sensations in the legs such as creeping, crawling, tingling, or pulling sensations. 

Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is a sleep disorder that causes an individual to repeatedly move his or her legs when they are asleep. As these movements occur every 20 to 40 seconds, they can interfere with the person's ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. 

This disorder is often associated with restless leg syndrome (RLS) and can cause similar symptoms, such as a feeling of restlessness in the legs, discomfort associated with the legs, and difficulties sleeping. Additionally, this condition is also more common in older people and can be managed with medication, lifestyle changes, or therapies.

Sleep Apnea

As per the latest study in 2022, around 90 million people in the US who snore suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. 

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can affect overweight individuals across all ages, including older adults. As a result, people can wake up frequently throughout the night from pauses in breathing during sleep.

As a result, you could end up with poor sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease. 

Sleep apnea is of three types, obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea.

Older people tend to suffer more from obstructive sleep apnea than other types. It occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and collapse during sleep, causing it to obstruct the airway, resulting in short periods of time when a person cannot breathe. Being overweight makes them more susceptible to the disorder.

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing but it is rare in older people.

REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD)

REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is one of the five stages of sleep that is characterized by rapid eye movement, increased brain activity, and reduced muscle tone.

In REM sleep, the body is paralyzed but the brain is active, which is thought to be important for learning and memory consolidation. Dreams most often occur during REM sleep and also help to regulate emotions. 

REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) occurs when people act out their dreams while in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep.

There is risk involved with this because people may physically move or make noises that may be harmful to them or disturb their partners.

In older adults, RBD is more common and can result in poor sleep quality and an increased risk of injury.


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