UBC Graduate Research

Management of Insomnia in the Older Adult Moshchenko, Valerie


Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the population and is one of the most common sleep complaints among primary care patients. Multiple factors increase the risk of developing insomnia disorder in older age. This condition generally does not resolve on its own and in older adults is associated with cognitive decline, increased risk of dementia, increased risk of falls, and higher rates of mortality. Pharmacotherapy is most frequently used to manage insomnia despite recommendations to try cognitive and behavioural strategies first. Given the prevalence of insomnia in older adults and its potential adverse consequences, primary care providers, including family nurse practitioners, need to be aware of non-pharmacological and pharmacological methods of insomnia management in this age group. For this paper a literature review was done to explore pharmacological and non-pharmacological management strategies for insomnia disorder in adults over the age of 65 in the primary care setting. Insomnia prevalence, considerations for diagnosis, and changes in sleep with ageing are also discussed. With increased knowledge, family nurse practitioners should be better equipped to identify, diagnose, and manage this prevalent disorder in primary care.

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