Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Sleep and Delirium in Older Adults.

Farasat S, Dorsch JJ, Pearce AK, Moore AA, Martin JL, Malhotra A, Kamdar BB. Sleep and Delirium in Older Adults. Current sleep medicine reports. 2020 Jul 27; 1-13.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


Purpose of Review: Poor sleep and delirium are common in older patients but recognition and management are challenging, particularly in the intensive care unit (ICU) setting. The purpose of this review is to highlight current research on these conditions, their inter-relationship, modes of measurement, and current approaches to management. Recent Findings: Sleep deprivation and delirium are closely linked, with shared clinical characteristics, risk factors, and neurochemical abnormalities. Acetylcholine and dopamine are important neurochemicals in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness and their dysregulation has been implicated in development of delirium. In the hospital setting, poor sleep and delirium are associated with adverse outcomes; non-pharmacological interventions are recommended, but tend to be resource intensive and hindered by a lack of reliable sleep measurement tools. Delirium is easier to identify, with validated tools available in both ICU and non-ICU settings; however, an optimal treatment approach remains unclear. Antipsychotics are used widely to prevent and treat delirium, although the efficacy data are equivocal. Bundled non-pharmacologic approaches represent a promising framework for prevention and management. Summary: Poor sleep and delirium are common problems in older patients. While these phenomena appear linked, a causal relationship is not clearly established. At present, there are no established sleep-focused guidelines for preventing or treating delirium. Novel interventions are needed that address poor sleep and delirium, particularly in older adults.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.