Why does our sleep quality decrease with age?

CBN Oil for sleep

CBD for sleep in elderly and how it can help


Humans spend over a third of their lives sleeping, making it a fundamental human behavior. But getting a good night’s sleep can get harder as we age and in this blog we will talk about how CBD for sleep in elderly can help. Sleep quality varies significantly from childhood to old age, and it may be both a cause and an indicator of brain changes in healthy aging (1). The quantity and quality of the “deep” stages of sleep, such as slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, drop as people age, and sleep patterns become more fragmented and inefficient (2, 3). Also, sleep issues have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, and mental health issues in older persons (4, 5, 6).

Older adults have shorter total sleep time (TST) than younger adults, with real sleep time declining until about the age of 60, then stabilizing, decades later in life. In this article, we will look into CBD for sleep in the elderly and see if it’s a good option to try out if you are having a hard time sleeping. The number of arousals and total time awake after falling asleep also rise with age; nevertheless, older persons do not have a harder time falling back asleep after arousal than younger ones (7).  Furthermore, elderly people take more naps during the day. 

Factors affecting the quality of sleep in older people

Sleep-related hormones

Growth hormone: According to studies, the release of growth hormone (GH) and slow wave sleep (SWS) have an impact on each other. Adolescence marks the peak of GH secretion, which subsequently falls off exponentially between young adulthood and middle life, before gently declining from middle age to old age. This process is comparable to the SWS decline that has been linked to aging (8). Age-related decreases in nocturnal GH may have a direct or indirect effect on SWS and may contribute to the reported decline in SWS. 

Cortisol: The secretion of cortisol follows a distinct diurnal cycle, peaking immediately after awakening in the morning, gradually declining throughout the day to reach its low point in the late evening, and then rising toward the morning peak (9). Cortisol secretion increasing during sleep may cause awakenings (10). Cortisol’s circadian rhythm alters with age, as evidenced by a drop in circadian amplitude, an increase in nocturnal cortisol levels, and presumably a phase-advanced rhythm. In older individuals, the increased nocturnal cortisol level may be a factor in decreasing SWS and frequent nocturnal awakenings (11). 

Thyroid stimulating hormone: Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) production follows a circadian rhythm in which it remains steady at a low level during the day, begins to rise in the late afternoon, peaks around sleep onset, gradually drops through the night, and recovers to its daytime level after morning awakenings. According to studies, awakening is linked to decreased nocturnal TSH production whereas SWS is linked to increased nocturnal TSH secretion (12). Evidence also suggests that older persons secrete less TSH overall during the course of a 24-hour period (13). This leads to improper sleep patterns among older people.  

Sex hormones: Older people’s sleep patterns alter with aging and are correlated with changes in gonadotropins and sex hormones. After the age of 30, testosterone levels in men gradually decline with aging. The diurnal testosterone pattern may also disappear in older males. The increasing sleep fragmentation in older persons may be related to declining testosterone with aging (14). During the menopause transition and post-menopause, estradiol levels fall and follicle-stimulating hormone levels rise considerably in females. There have been reports of trouble falling and keeping asleep as a result of these changes in reproductive hormones (14). Additionally, the lower levels of endogenous progesterone and estrogen may negatively affect the upper airway, increasing the likelihood of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) following menopause. 

Medical comorbidities 

Approximately 67% of older persons have several comorbidities.  The most often reported medical comorbidities in older persons include osteoarthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, gastric reflux, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.  The discomfort and emotional distress brought on by medical disorders are a factor in older individuals’ increased nighttime awakenings and sleep disorders.  Additionally, there is a strong correlation between chronic medical illnesses and the diagnosis or incidence of sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome (15).

Social, lifestyle, and environmental factors

Sleep issues in older individuals are a result of the social and lifestyle changes that come with age which CBD for sleep in the elderly can help with. Older people who are retired tend to have more flexible sleep habits (which can be erratic), more opportunities for daytime naps, are more sedentary and engage in fewer social activities than they once did. Sleep disturbances are a result of these factors, which also have an impact on circadian regulation and sleep homeostasis. Losing a loved one can also lead to mental discomfort and loneliness, both of which are known to interfere with sleep.

Environmental factors cause many older persons to lose their independence in everyday living and may cause them to transfer to new homes or long-term care facilities, particularly those who have multiple morbidities. This change may be a significant life event that could cause a number of physiological and psychological pressures. During and after this change, sleep issues may increase or worsen. Finally, other environmental elements that affect older persons’ sleep quality include temperature, noise, and light exposure.

Now that we have gone over all the reasons why your sleep quality can decrease with age, let’s talk about some solutions. One you might find helpful is how taking CBD for sleep in elderly can give you a restful night’s sleep!

There are several natural ways that may help improve sleep in the elderly:

  1. In corporate CBD into your night time routine. CBD for sleep in elderly can help with falling asleep and staying asleep.
  2. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
  3. Create a sleep-friendly environment: Keep the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, and use comfortable bedding.
  4. Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help improve sleep quality and duration.
  5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: These substances can disrupt sleep, so it’s best to avoid them close to bedtime.
  6. Relax before bed: Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as reading or taking a warm bath, can help calm the mind and prepare the body for sleep.
  7. Consider natural sleep aids: Some people find that natural remedies, such as valerian root or melatonin, can help improve sleep. However, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.
  8. Address any underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, can interfere with sleep. Treatment for these conditions can help improve sleep.

If you are thinking about incorporating CBD for sleep in elderly then check out the sleep products today: https://www.drpeacelily.com/product-category/sleep/

Finally, follow us on Instagram to learn more: https://www.instagram.com/dr.peacelily/

This article was written by Dr. Peace Lily Scientific Communications Intern, Jahnabi Saikia, and edited by Dr. Najifa Choudhury, PharmD.


  1. Feinberg, I., Koresko, R. L., and Heller, N. (1967). EEG sleep patterns as a function of normal and pathological aging in man. J. Psychiatr. Res. 5, 107–144. doi: 10.1016/0022-3956(67)90027-1
  2. Bliwise, D. L., Foley, D. J., Vitiello, M. V., Ansari, F. P., Ancoli-Israel, S., and Walsh, J. K. (2009). Nocturia and disturbed sleep in the elderly. Sleep Med. 10, 540–548. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2008.04.002
  3. Gadie, A., Shafto, M., Leng, Y., and Cam-CAN, and Kievit, R. A. (2017). How are age-related differences in sleep quality associated with health outcomes? An epidemiological investigation in a UK cohort of 2406 adults. BMJ Open 7:e014920. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014920
  4. Roberts, R. E., Shema, S. J., Kaplan, G. A., and Strawbridge, W. J. (2000). Sleep complaints and depression in an aging cohort: a prospective perspective. Am. J. Psychiatry 157, 81–88. doi: 10.1176/ajp.157.1.81
  5. Shi, L., Chen, S.-J., Ma, M.-Y., Bao, Y.-P., Han, Y., Wang, Y.-M., et al. (2018). Sleep disturbances increase the risk of dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Med. Rev. 40, 4–16. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2017.06.010
  6. Wu, Z., Chen, F., Yu, F., Wang, Y., and Guo, Z. (2018). A meta-analysis of obstructive sleep apnea in patients with cerebrovascular disease. Sleep Breath. 22, 729–742. doi: 10.1007/s11325-017-1604-4
  7. Ohayon MM, Carskadon MA, Guilleminault C, Vitiello MV. Meta-analysis of quantitative sleep parameters from childhood to old age in healthy individuals: developing normative sleep values across the human lifespan. Sleep. 2004;27(7):1255–73.
  8.  Copinschi G, Caufriez A. Sleep and hormonal changes in aging. Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America. 2013;42(2):371–389.
  9. Bierwolf C, Struve K, Marshall L, Born J, Fehm HL. Slow wave sleep drives inhibition of pituitary-adrenal secretion in humans. J Neuroendocrinol. 1997;9(6):479–484.
  10. Caufriez A, Moreno-Reyes R, Leproult R, Vertongen F, Van Cauter E, Copinschi G. Immediate effects of an 8-h advance shift of the rest-activity cycle on 24-h profiles of cortisol. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002;282(5):E1147–1153. 
  11. Buckley TM. Neuroendocrine and homeostatic changes in the elderly. In: Pandi-Perumal SR, Monti JM, Monjan AA, editors. Principles and Practice of Geriatric Sleep Medicine. 1st. Cambridge University Press; 2010. pp. 85–96.
  12. Goichot B, Brandenberger G, Saini J, Wittersheim G, Follenius M. Nocturnal plasma thyrotropin variations are related to slow-wave sleep. J Sleep Res. 1992;1(3):186–190.
  13. Van Coevorden A, Laurent E, Decoster C, et al. Decreased Basal and Stimulated Thyrotropin Secretion in Healthy Elderly Men*. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 1989;69(1):177–185. 
  14. Buckley TM. Neuroendocrine and homeostatic changes in the elderly. In: Pandi-Perumal SR, Monti JM, Monjan AA, editors. Principles and Practice of Geriatric Sleep Medicine. 1st. Cambridge University Press; 2010. pp. 85–96.
  15. Barczi SR. Sleep and medical comorbidities. In: Avidan AY, Alessi C, editors. Geriatric Sleep Medicine. 1st. New York, NY: 2008. pp. 19–36. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *