Two: Sleep and autonomy in later life: the SomnIA project

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This chapter discusses how the sleep of older people is linked to issues of autonomy and active ageing. For older people living in the community, this chapter demonstrates how the strategic use of napping is related to the goal of active ageing, discusses the reluctance of older people to take prescribed sleeping medication, and examines how care-giving can adversely affect the sleep of older people. For older people living in care homes, care home routines, staffing levels at night and night-time monitoring by staff can compromise the sleep of care home residents, which has implications for their daytime functioning. This chapter argues that poor sleep is often ignored by both the medical profession and by the general public, yet is fundamental in terms of optimising health and well-being in later life, and enabling older people to achieve independent and active lives.

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