Changing Aging Blog

Seniors and Sleep: Five Things You Might Not Know
Date: May 3rd, 2017 12:00am

Author:

Abigail Mooney

Last week was National Sleep Awareness Week, sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation. In honor of last week, a recent issue of Aging in Stride offers 5 things that you might not know about when it comes to seniors and sleep. 

1.      Good health and good sleep: the connection works in both directions. “It's common sense that poor health can keep older adults from getting a good night's sleep…we now also realize more than ever that poor sleep in return hastens the progression of the very health problems that keep us awake, and many other diseases that are more common as we grow older.”

2.      Sleeping less? It might not be insomnia. “It's important to get the amount of sleep that our bodies and minds need. A recent study from the University of Warwick in England found that people who sleep for less than six hours each night are 12% more likely to die prematurely.”

3.      Want to maintain a healthy weight? Get a full night's sleep. “Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden showed that even a single night of sleep loss can both increase the appetite and decrease the amount of energy we use the next day. That combination, over time, can lead to steady weight gain.”

4.      Do you bring your smart phone to bed? Bad idea. “Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness, and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour—making it more difficult to go to sleep.”

5.      New understanding of the relationship between sleep and Alzheimer's disease. “Sleep is necessary for the formation of long-term memories. While we are asleep, our brains are busy creating and consolidating the memories of the day. Neurologists now know that poor sleep also raises the risk of dementia.”

Read the full article: Seniors and Sleep: Five Things You Might Not Know

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