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Box 1

Box 1. From: Sleep and aging: 1. Sleep disorders commonly found in older people.

Normal sleep progresses through several stages in a predictable fashion (Table 1). This cycle repeats several times during the sleep period. With age, important changes in sleep structure occur (Box 1);1 perhaps most characteristic is a phase advance of the normal circadian cycle. The result is a propensity toward an earlier sleep onset, accompanied by an earlier morning wake signal. Thus, elderly people often go to bed early and report being early risers. With aging, the total amount of time asleep shortens: infants and young children sleep an average of 16–20 hours per day; adults, 7–8; and people over 60 years of age, 61/2 hours daily.2 Delta sleep (stages 3 and 4), the deepest and most refreshing form of sleep, diminishes with age.2

Norman Wolkove, et al. CMAJ. 2007 April 24;176(9):1299-1304.

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