Normal sleep, healthy ageing linked: Study

June 12th, 2008 - 1:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 12 (IANS) Normal sleep and healthy ageing are related, according to a study based on an analysis of the sleeping patterns of 2,226 women of over 60 years. The study, by University of California researchers, monitored sleeping aids, daytime somnolence, napping and snoring to come to its conclusion.

It found that 20.8 percent of the women who were categorised as “successful agers” were also “good sleepers”.

“Our findings reinforce the idea that good sleep is of utmost importance for good health,” said Sonia Ancoli-Israel, who led the study.

Unfortunately, the study found, many older adults often get less sleep than they need. One reason is that they often have more trouble falling asleep.

The study also looked at adults over 65 and found that 13 percent of men and 36 percent of women take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.

Also, older people often sleep less deeply and wake up more often through the night, which may be why they nap more during the day.

Night-time sleep schedules may change with age too, the study found. Many older adults tend to get sleepier earlier in the evening and awaken earlier in the morning.

Not sleeping well can lead to a number of problems, including depression, attention and memory problems, excessive daytime sleepiness, more nightly falls and overuse of sleep aids.

Other recent studies have linked lack of sleep with serious health problems such as an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

While most people require seven to eight hours of sleep a night to perform optimally the next day, older adults might find it harder to obtain the sleep they need.

The findings of the study were presented Wednesday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

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