Pureheart 2012-03-27 20:36:06
Growing Old Shouldn’t Mean Losing Sleep
(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)
MONDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDayNews) — If you’re an older adult who has
trouble sleeping, don’t assume it’s a normal feature of advancing age.
The sleeplessness that affects about a third of older Americans isn’t
a natural part of aging and can result in serious health problems,
says a new report from the International Longevity Center-USA and the
The report — “Getting Your ZZZZZZZs: How Sleep Affects Health and
Aging” — reviews what researchers have learned about common sleep
disorders, how they affect a person’s brain and body, and how people
with these sleep disorders can get a good night’s sleep.
Sleeplessness in old age can be caused by a number of factors,
including physical changes associated with aging, traumatic life
experiences (like the death of a spouse), decreased physical activity
and limited exposure to sunlight.
“Sleeplessness sets up a vicious cycle,” the report notes. “Older
people have problems that disturb their sleep, which often affect
their other body systems, especially hormone production and metabolism
— causing more problems that disturb sleep even more.”
Loss of sleep can result in memory problems, depression, greater risk
of falls and even changes in the nervous system that affect
Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can help older adults get a
good night’s sleep. But, the report notes that taking short naps of no
more than 20 to 30 minutes during the day also may help a person sleep
While medications may be useful for short-term sleep problems, they
don’t seem effective in solving long-term sleep disorders, the report
says. Sleep disorders that affect older adults include sleep apnea and
Older adults who experience a long period of sleeplessness should
contact their doctor, the report urges.
A copy of the report can be ordered by phoning 212-606-3383 or it can
be downloaded from the International Longevity Center Web site.
Here’s where you can learn more about sleep and aging.
(SOURCE: International Longevity Center, news release, Aug. 14, 2003)
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