If you are getting older you are more likely to sleep like a baby!

Nearly 100 million Americans are suffering from one or other sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, sleep deprivation, sleep disturbance and daytime fatigue to name just a few. But those who are getting older have good news that their sleep is getting better as they grow old. A good night’s sleep just like a baby sleep gets possible in older age.

A research study performed on more than 150,000 Americans concluded recently and published in the March edition of the Journal SLEEP revealed that sleep seems to improve over a lifetime, with the fewest sleep complaints coming from people in their 80s.

“This flies in the face of popular belief,” said Michael Grandner, Ph.D., lead author of the study. “These results force us to re-think what we know about sleep in older people — men and women.”

Researchers performed a random telephone survey of 155,877 adults and then examined the reported rates of sleep disturbance and daytime fatigue.

Health problems and depression were associated with poor sleep, and women reported more sleep disturbances and tiredness than men.

Surprisingly, with the exception of an increase in sleep problems during middle age — more pronounced in women than men — sleep quality improved consistently over a lifetime. Or at least that’s how people reported their sleep.

“Even if sleep among older Americans is actually worse than in younger adults, feelings about it still improve with age,” said Grandner.

The telephone survey of 150,000 Americans found that sleep quality seems to improve over a lifetime, apart from a blip in middle age. In fact, people in their 80s were least likely to struggle to get shut-eye.

But apart from a blip in their 40s, sleep quality improved consistently over a person’s lifetime.

“Even if sleep among older Americans is actually worse than in younger adults, feelings about it still improve with age.

“Once you factor out things like illness and depression, older people should be reporting better sleep. If they’re not, they need to talk to their doctor. They shouldn’t just ignore it,” Dr Grandner added.

The research was aimed at to explore the popular belief that increased sleep problems are associated with aging and therefore the researchers preferred to go with the largest and most representative sample size. Instead, the results challenge the conventional wisdom that difficulty sleeping is perceived more by older adults, and challenge the general clinical practice of ignoring sleep complaints from older adults as a normal part of aging.

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Filed under: Daytime SleepinessDepressionFatigueInsomniaObstructive Sleep ApneaSleepSleep ApneaSleep Apnea AwarenessSleep Apnea NewsSleep Apnea ResearchSleep Apnea StudySleep DeprivationSleep Disordered BreathingSleep DisordersSleep Problems

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