“The more disorders older adults have, the worse they sleep,” said Sonia Ancoli-Israel, a professor of psychiatry and a sleep researcher at the University of California, San Diego. “If you look at older adults who are very healthy, they rarely have sleep problems.”
Recent studies are proving that difficulties in sleeping can be traced back to poor health. One of the most common causes of sleep disruption is pain, and a restless night can make pain worse the next day. And when pain becomes worse, it follows that sleep becomes even more difficult. The situation becomes a vicious cycle common in people with conditions that tend to afflict the elderly, like back pain and arthritis.