ADVANCED SLEEP PHASE IN THE ELDERLY-- CIRCADIAN ETIOLOGY

  • Buxton, Orfeu M. (PI)
  • CZEISLER, CHARLES (PI)
  • CZEISLER, CHARLES (PI)
  • CZEISLER, CHARLES (PI)
  • DAVIS, FREDERICK (PI)
  • KRONAUER, RICHARD (PI)
  • DAVIS, FREDERICK (PI)
  • KRONAUER, RICHARD (PI)
  • WEAVER, DAVID RAYMOND (PI)
  • KLERMAN, ELIZABETH (PI)
  • SHIROMANI, PRIYATTAM (PI)
  • KRONAUER, RICHARD (PI)
  • HUGHES, ROD (PI)
  • Aeschbach, Daniel (PI)
  • DUFFY, JEANNE (PI)
  • SAPER, CLIFFORD (PI)
  • QUAN, STUART (PI)
  • CZEISLER, CHARLES (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Survey data reveal that more than 15% of otherwise healthy older people
report having disturbed sleep. The most frequent complaint is an
inappropriate timing of sleep, i.e., a very early morning awakening
accompanied by profound sleepiness during the evening hours. This phase
advance in the circadian rhythms of a number of physiologic and cognitive
variables. Animals studies indicate that these age-related advances in the
entrained phase of the circadian system are accompanied with a shortening
of the intrinsic period of the circadian pacemaker. We have found that
there are corresponding age-related changes in the properties of the
circadian system in humans that can results in misalignment between the
output of the circadian pacemaker and the usual the times available for
sleeping and waking.

On the basis of our results, four testable hypotheses are proposed: (1)
that the intrinsic period of the endogenous circadian pacemaker is shorter
in older subjects than in young adults; (2) that the entrained phase of the
endogenous circadian rhythm of body temperature is positively correlated
with its intrinsic period, and that the primary complaint of early morning
awakening is associated with a shorter-than-average period of the
endogenous circadian pacemaker; (3) that sleep latency, sleep efficiency,
and the timing of REM sleep vary with endogenous circadian phase than is
that of younger subjects.

An experiment is proposed using new methodologies to allow the accurate and
reliable assessment the intrinsic period of the endogenous circadian
pacemaker, its relation to entrained circadian phase, and the changes in
both of these parameters with advancing age. In this experiment, the
influence of age-related changes in the endogenous circadian pacemaker and
its impact on sleep structure and circadian phase-dependent sleep
disruption will be assessed.

This work has significant implications for gerontologic medicine. Sleep
disorders in older people are an important cause of a diminished quality of
life in otherwise healthy people. They frequently lead to an
overconsumption of sleep medications with unfortunate physiological side
effects. Greater understanding of the neurophysiologic mechanism
underlying sleep disorders in older people as well as understanding of non-
invasive methods for their alleviation offer substantive promise for
improved health of older people.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/1/017/31/21

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