Lack of Sleep Increases the Effects of Aging
Older adults often miss out on deep, restorative sleep—and that causes more problems than frequent yawning and daytime drowsiness. According to researchers at UC Berkeley, sleep deprivation in older adults increases the risk for a number of physical and mental health problems, and improving sleep as we age can improve our overall health.
Sleep problems—which often begin in middle-age—have been linked to a higher risk for memory loss and cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and stroke later in life. Commonly used sleep aids—sleeping pills, for example—are not the answer. The brain requires natural sleep cycles to function well.
As we get older, many of us awaken more frequently during the night—preventing us from getting enough quality sleep. Researchers are exploring non-pharmaceutical interventions to help improve restorative sleep in older adults. One day, we might all find the fountain of youth—right in our own beds!
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