Public Release: 

Poor sleep not a normal part of aging

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Researchers outline five basic steps to help doctors identify and treat insomnia in elderly patients. This article is published in a special insomnia themed supplement of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Researchers say insomnia is a common problem that warrants increased attention from doctors who care for older adults. The study presents a five-step approach to diagnose and manage insomnia in these patients. If followed, data shows that doctors could help to reduce sleep disturbances in the geriatric population.

The steps include (1) detection through asking patients questions, (2) elaboration of the problem, (3) determining if there is a medical or psychiatric emergency, (4) further evaluation of chronic insomnia, if present, and (5) intervention, which can include pharmacological treatment.

"The perception of sleeping poorly, coupled with daytime sequelae such as fatigue or irritability, is cause for seeking medical help," states W. Vaughn McCall, MD, MS, author of the article. "Failure to address insomnia could lead to bad outcomes, such as clinical depression. Insomnia can be cause by numerous factors, but can be treated successfully either through lifestyle and behavioral changes or through medications."


This study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article please contact

W. Vaughn McCall, MD, MS is affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Wake Forest University Health Sciences. He can be reached for questions and interviews at

About the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society publishes articles that are relevant in the broadest terms to the clinical care of older persons. Such articles may span a variety of disciplines and fields and may be of immediate, intermediate, or long-term potential benefit to clinical practice.

About the American Geriatrics Society
The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is the premier professional organization of health care providers dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all older adults. With an active membership of over 6,000 health care professionals, the AGS has a long history of effecting change in the provision of health care for older adults. In the last decade, the Society has become a pivotal force in shaping attitudes, policies and practices regarding health care for older people. Visit for more information.

About Blackwell Publishing
Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 600 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals and 600 text and reference books annually, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

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