Sept. 14 -- SATURDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- While it's normal for older people to have occasional sleep problems, seniors who experience sleep pattern changes that last for longer than two weeks should see a doctor, says Dr. Charles Cefalu, a member of the American Geriatrics Society.
"Generally, for optimal function, the body and mind need about eight hours of sleep each night," Cefalu said in a society news release. "However, a recent study suggests that some seniors may need less sleep. Because sleep affects everyone differently, people shouldn't count the hours of sleep they get to determine if it's right for them, they should take note of how they feel the next day."
He noted that common signs of a sleep disorder include: excessive snoring; frequent waking through the night; morning headaches; being tired but having trouble falling asleep; loss of appetite; and not feeling rested in the morning.
"While it might be normal to wake up tired, or have a bad night's sleep on occasion, if the symptoms last for more than two weeks, seniors should see their geriatrician to determine if there is a problem and learn about treatment options," Cefalu said.
Cefalu offered some tips to help seniors get a good night's sleep:
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about sleep and aging.
SOURCE: American Geriatrics Society, news release, August 2008