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Sleep in Older Adults and Its Possible Relations With COVID-19

Authors
  • Pires, Gabriel Natan1
  • Ishikura, Isabela Antunes1
  • Xavier, Sandra Doria1, 2
  • Petrella, Caetano1
  • Piovezan, Ronaldo Delmonte1
  • Xerfan, Ellen Maria Sampaio3
  • Andersen, Monica Levy1
  • Tufik, Sergio1
  • 1 Departamento de Psicobiologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo , (Brazil)
  • 2 Department of Otolaryngology, Santa Casa de São Paulo, São Paulo , (Brazil)
  • 3 Programa de Pós-Graduação em Medicina Translacional, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo , (Brazil)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Publisher
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Jun 11, 2021
Volume
13
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2021.647875
Source
Frontiers
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Neuroscience
  • Review
License
Green

Abstract

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults have been found to be a highly vulnerable group, with a higher prevalence of severe cases and negative outcomes. Research has focused on the reasons why older adults are at greater risk; Sleep-related factors have been suggested as one possible explanation for this. An individual’s sleep pattern undergoes significant changes over the course of their life. In older adults a specific sleep profile can be observed, one characterized by advanced sleep timing, a morningness preference, longer sleep-onset latency, shorter overall sleep duration, increased sleep fragmentation, reduced slow-wave sleep and, increased wake time after sleep onset. Additionally, an increased prevalence of sleep disorders can be observed, such as obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia. Previous research has already linked sleep disorders (especially sleep apnea) with COVID-19, but few studies have focused specifically on the older population. We believe that the intrinsic sleep patterns of older adults, and the prevalence of sleep disorders in this population, may be important factors that could explain why they are at a greater risk of negative COVID-19 outcomes. In this review, we discuss the relationship between sleep and COVID-19 among older adults, focusing on three different aspects: (1) Sleep-related issues that might increase the likelihood of getting infected by SARS-COV-2; (2) Sleep disturbances that might increase the predisposition to worse COVID-19 prognosis and outcomes; and (3) COVID-19-related aspects affecting community-dwelling older adults, such as social isolation, quarantine, and home confinement, among others, that might impact sleep.

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