Elderly Sleeping A Lot? Here’s Why (& What Can Be Done)

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

Elderly Sleeping A Lot

Why do the elderly sleep a lot?

As we age, sleep patterns can start to become less consistent. This is the case for most adults, but the fact is that the elderly suffer from this dilemma more than those who are younger.

According to studies, there are adults who sleep an average of 5 hours a day. This is alarming, since most healthy adults should be sleeping 7-9 hours every day. Other studies show that the elderly sleeping a lot is one of the symptoms of living a sedentary lifestyle, or an underlying condition.

Individuals in their 90s are quite prone to several health issues, most of which occur to a greater degree because the immune system is no longer as strong as it possibly used to be.

This post will teach you why elderly individuals, particularly those who are at least 90 years old, are known to sleep a lot, and give you a set of methods that you can use to reduce this sleep cycle down to a more manageable level.

Why Do Older People Sleep All the Time?

What causes an elderly person to sleep a lot?

Does old age itself contribute to sleeping a lot?

As people age, their sleeping habits change. Some elderly people sleep a lot more than others, but there are many causes for this phenomenon. One of them is that as we age, our bodies produce less melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate our sleep cycles.

Another reason is that as we age, we tend to become more sensitive to light and noise—both of which can disturb your ability to get quality rest.

Also, some older people have trouble falling asleep at night or staying asleep throughout the night because they have physical ailments like arthritis or chronic pain that make it difficult for them to get comfortable or stay in one position for long periods of time without being uncomfortable.

A final reason why some elderly people sleep a lot is because they may suffer from depression or anxiety; these conditions can cause a person to have trouble getting quality sleep each night due to their thoughts keeping them up at night instead of allowing them to rest peacefully until morning arrives, which means they need more sleep.

Why Do People Get Sleep Problems As They Age?

People can sleep a lot for a number of reasons.

Sleeping more than usual is sometimes caused by old age itself, but it’s not always the case. In some cases, sleeping more than usual is a sign of an underlying health condition. People who are experiencing pain or discomfort may find that they need to sleep more to manage their symptoms.

Elderly Sleeping on the couch

In other cases, sleeping too much may be related to depression or anxiety disorders that cause drowsiness and fatigue.

In other cases, people who are older may simply be experiencing the normal changes associated with aging that affect sleep patterns. As people age, they experience physiological changes such as decreased muscle mass and strength—which means they may have trouble getting enough restful sleep at night.

Also, older adults often take medications that can cause them to feel drowsy during the day or even cause them to fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as during work.

How Much Sleep Do Elderlies Need per Day

When we’re young, we can get by with just a few hours of sleep per night. But as we get older, our need for sleep increases. As recommended by the National Sleep Foundation, adults who are 65 and older should have about 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. That’s longer than most people think it should be—most people believe that elderly adults need only 6 hours’ sleep a night.

The reason why older adults need more sleep is because their circadian rhythm changes as they age. Circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock that tells it when to go to bed and when to wake up. As you age, your circadian rhythm tends to become longer and more delayed, which means that you’ll be tired later in the day than you used to be when you were younger.

This change in circadian rhythm can make it difficult for elderly adults to fall asleep at night or stay asleep throughout the night, which leads them to feeling tired during the day even though they’ve slept for 8 hours or more each night.

What Conditions May Cause an Elderly to Sleep a Lot?

Why do elderly sleep all the time?

If you are taking care of an elderly sleeping all day, it’s good to be aware that they sleep a lot for many reasons.

Sleep is necessary for the body to function properly, so it’s important that elderly people get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can cause a number of problems and may lead to serious health issues. The following conditions may cause an elderly person to sleep a lot:


 Insomnia is when someone has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or both. It’s fairly common among older adults, especially those who have dementia or other memory problems. It can also be linked to medical conditions such as heart disease or chronic pain.

Sleep Apnea: 

Sleep apnea occurs when air flow becomes blocked while sleeping, causing snoring and shallow breathing during sleep. This can lead to fatigue during the day and poor memory recall.

elderly staring blankly


Depression is an illness that affects your moods by making you feel sad, hopeless, or helpless for weeks or months at a time.

Depression may cause restlessness at night which results in increased snoring and difficulty sleeping well at night, because the mind won’t stop thinking about things that make one feel sad or upset.

If you suspect that you or an elderly being cared for could be suffering from depression, seek the help of a specialist. To supplement your program, your doctor might also recommend some of the best supplements for happy mood.

How To Know if Your Excessive Sleeping Needs Medical Attention?

There are many reasons why someone might sleep excessively. It could be a sign of stress, depression or anxiety. It could also be a sign of medical conditions like sleep apnea or narcolepsy.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself before deciding if you need to see a doctor:

  • Do I have trouble staying awake during the day?
  • Do I fall asleep at inappropriate times?
  • Do I feel tired all the time?
  • Does my partner complain that I snore loudly?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s important to speak with your physician.

Elderly Is Sleeping All the Time and Not Eating: What To Do

When an elderly person is sleeping all the time and not eating, there are a number of things you can do to help.

First, you should make sure they’re getting enough sleep. If they’re sleeping more than 8 hours per day, this might be a sign that something is wrong.

Talk with them about what’s going on in their life and try to identify any stressors that could be making them tired. For example, if their children are constantly asking for money or favors, this could be causing them stress and interfering with their sleep patterns.

elderly woman eating pasta

Next, make sure they are eating enough food. If an elderly person isn’t eating enough calories per day (1120 for women, 1500 for men), it can have negative health effects including weight loss, weakness from malnutrition (malnourishment), fatigue from lack of energy intake (energy intake), dehydration from not drinking enough water (dehydration), and even death if left untreated long enough!

Try introducing new foods into their diet like fruits or vegetables (fruits/vegetables) to see if this helps increase their appetite or leads them to try something new that they like better than what they’re currently eating now.

If both these steps don’t work, then talk with your doctor about other options, such as taking serenity sleep supplements to help facilitate better sleep.

7 Health Tips To Help Seniors Get High-quality Sleep

1. Observe a Regular Bedtime Schedule

Keeping a regular bedtime schedule helps seniors and elderly maintain healthy circadian rhythms and avoid jet lag. It also helps them feel better, as they’ll be able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

This can reduce the chance of nighttime falls that can lead to injury or death—an important consideration for those who live alone or without assistance with daily activities such as bathing or eating.

Studies have also shown that a regular bedtime schedule can help seniors maintain cognitive function over time by allowing their brains enough time for restful sleep each night.

2. Take Warm Baths

A warm bath can be helpful because it provides a relaxing environment that allows seniors to let go of stress and worries.

It also helps regulate body temperature, which can make it easier for seniors to fall asleep. To get the most out of a warm bath before bedtime:

  • Make sure the water temperature is comfortable (not too hot or too cold)
  • Keep your bedroom dark while you’re bathing by using blackout curtains or an eye mask
  • Try adding lavender essential oil to your bathwater for added relaxation

3. Find Time To Calm Down Before Bedtime

When it comes to the older generation, the importance of sleep is often overlooked. The main reason for this is that most seniors and elderly people do not consider themselves as being in need of sleep.

However, this is a common misconception since they are just as likely to suffer from sleep deprivation – or an overabundance of it – as any other age group.

In addition, this problem tends to be more severe than it would be in younger people due to the fact that their bodies take longer to recover from lack of sleep. This makes it even more important for seniors and elderly people to ensure they get enough rest each night so that they can function properly during the day.

The first thing seniors should do when trying to improve their quality of sleep is take time out after dinner or other activities before bedtime so that they can relax their minds and body before going up into their bedrooms for the night.

This will help them feel more relaxed once they lie down on their beds which will make them feel more comfortable while sleeping which may lead to higher quality rest throughout the night’s duration rather than waking up too early in morning feeling tired or groggy.

senior woman reading book on the couch

Play soft music in their room while they’re getting ready for bed. It will help soothe their mind and body as they’re preparing to rest. This will also create a calming environment that’s conducive to sleeping well.

Create a nighttime routine that includes relaxing activities like reading or knitting—anything that keeps their mind focused on something other than work or stressors throughout the day can help them unwind when it comes time for bed.

4. Refrain From Taking Afternoon Naps

The body’s circadian rhythm (our internal clock) naturally causes us to feel sleepy at night and awake during the day, and it’s important to keep that rhythm in order for us to be rested.

Taking a nap in the afternoon can disrupt this natural rhythm because our bodies are programmed to wake up when it gets light out, which means that if we don’t get enough sleep at night, we’ll end up feeling like we need an afternoon nap even though it could negatively affect our overall health and well-being.

5. Drink Less Fluids at Night 

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health, but it can be challenging for many people.

For example, elderly people tend to have trouble sleeping because they naturally become dehydrated during the night. This can lead to waking up in the middle of the night and feeling thirsty.

This may seem like an easy problem to solve: perhaps just give them more water?

However, this isn’t always a good idea for two reasons: firstly, when they drink water at night it takes longer for the body to absorb it than if they drink the same amount during the day.

Secondly, drinking too much water at night can cause them to wake up in the middle of the night because their bladder needs emptying, which will disrupt their sleep. The solution? Encourage elderly people who suffer from nighttime dehydration problems to limit their fluid intake after dinner time.

6. Get Some Sun

A new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that sunlight can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in the elderly, leading to better sleep quality. The researchers looked at 31 participants who were between the ages of 64 and 95 and living in assisted living facilities. They measured their moods, sleep quality, and light exposure levels over a period of six weeks.

The results showed that those who spent more time in direct sunlight had lower levels of depression and anxiety, which may have contributed to their better sleep quality.

The researchers also discovered that most participants were exposed to only about 40% of the recommended daily amount of ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun, suggesting that it’s important for older adults to make sure they’re getting enough natural light each day.

This study suggests that increasing exposure to daylight may be an effective strategy for improving both mental health and sleep quality among older adults.

senior couple doing yoga

7. Exercise

Exercise improves the quality of sleep in older adults by increasing their overall health and reducing stress. Exercise also helps improve the body’s ability to cope with pain, which can make it easier to get a good night’s rest. 

The American Heart Association prescribes that adults over 65 years old should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week (e.g., brisk walking), or 75 minutes of aerobic activity per week (e.g., jogging). 

Aerobic exercise is any activity that causes us to breathe harder and get our heart rate up for a sustained period of time—so it doesn’t have to be running or swimming. Older adults can also try dancing, gardening, or even something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Treatment for Excessive Sleeping in Elderly

There are several different treatments for excessive sleeping in elderly, including physical therapy, medications, and psychological counseling.

Physical therapy can help reduce the symptoms of excessive sleeping by strengthening muscles and improving balance. Physical therapists may also give you exercises that can help reduce stress and improve overall health.

Medications can be used to treat insomnia or other sleep disorders. They can also be used to treat depression, anxiety, or other conditions that may contribute to excessive sleeping.

Psychological counseling may be helpful in treating some cases of excessive sleeping. Counselors can help you learn how to manage stress and other emotions that can interfere with your ability to sleep well. They may also help you develop better sleep habits and more positive attitudes towards life in general.

People Also Ask

What Does It Mean When an Elderly Person Sleeps All the Time?

When an elderly person sleeps all of the time, this can be a sign of several health problems.

One common cause is depression. Depression is a mental illness that affects people of all ages, but it is particularly common in older adults. It can be difficult to diagnose because signs are often not as obvious as they are in younger people.

Sleeping all day and night could be a symptom of depression, so if you notice that your loved one is sleeping more than usual and also seems sad or irritable, it’s important to speak with them about their feelings and get them help from a doctor.

Other possible causes include Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Dementia is most likely to affect older adults, but it can occur at any age. People with dementia may show signs such as sleeping too much or too little and having trouble remembering things that happened recently or even decades ago.

elderly woman lying on the bed

In some cases, an elderly person might just have an illness that makes them tired all the time—for example, heart failure or kidney disease could lead to extreme exhaustion even when the patient isn’t doing anything physically demanding at all!

In this case, doctors need to work together with family members and caregivers in order to determine what’s causing the exhaustion so they can treat it.

How Much Sleep Is Too Much for the Elderly?

The amount of sleep required by the elderly depends on several factors, including the person’s age, physical condition, and lifestyle. The National Sleep Foundation prescribes adults ages 65 or older allow themselves between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.

Sleep experts say that while it may be tempting to try to get more sleep in order to stay awake longer and avoid falling asleep at work or while driving, it’s important for adults over 65 to get enough rest so they can function at their best throughout the day.

Getting too much sleep is not healthy either. Getting too much sleep puts an extra strain on your heart and lungs because your body is not getting enough oxygen during the night. It can also cause other health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure.


As we get older, and the body starts going through various changes it can be hard to keep up with all the sleep that’s required. Many people turn to sleeping pills as a long-term solution to sleep deprivation and a variety of other sleeping issues, but they are not without significant side effects. 

It’s better to find natural solutions to sleeping problems rather than relying on drugs, as they will only cause more problems. Keep up with your habits, try out exercises or activities that may strike your fancy, or just change small things gradually and you will be able to find a solution that works for you.

Join our longevity Facebook group for more articles on health and wellness. You can also check out my others posts on how to improve REM sleep and how to sleep with a stuffynose, which are two more issues for which my advice has been asked. I am excited to see you being a part of our online community, let’s connect soon!

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