Sleepiness in the Elderly

Sleep Med Clin. 2017 Sep;12(3):429-441. doi: 10.1016/j.jsmc.2017.03.015. Epub 2017 May 26.


Excessive daytime sleepiness has pathologic causes and numerous adverse consequences; therefore, it requires medical attention in older adults. Excessive sleepiness in older adults is often multifactorial and may signal an underlying sleep disorder, chronic medical condition, undiagnosed mood disorder, or side effects of medications. It is associated with increased risk for cognitive decline and dementia in the elderly. Excessive sleepiness often requires a multi-method assessment in this age group. It is pertinent to take a systematic, step-by-step treatment approach geared toward the underlying cause, and to treat sleepiness directly, when the cause cannot be eliminated to prevent adverse outcomes.

Keywords: Elderly; Excessive daytime sleepiness; Older adults.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / complications*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / chemically induced
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / diagnosis*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / complications*