A night of bad sleep can wreck anyone’s day, but a new study shows that it can also worsen dementia among the elderly.
Researchers administered sleep tests through the year 1999 to 167 men. All of the men had died by 2010, and were autopsied to study the effects of sleep in their later years.
The study found that those who experienced the highest amounts of deep sleep were approximately one third less likely to experience brain atrophy when compared to those who got the least amount of deep sleep.
Bad Sleep May Lead to Brain Tissue Damage
The men who experienced the most episodes of apnea, waking, or sleep disturbance had higher levels of brain tissue damage. Researchers pointed out that these men experienced lower blood oxygen levels and the tissue damage was most likely caused by a loss of blood supply.
This study contradicts the commonly held belief that elderly people need less sleep than everyone else. Many elderly people do, in fact, get less sleep than their younger counterparts. Not only do the elderly sleep less, they also:
- wait longer before falling asleep
- wake up more often through the night
- sleep less “deeply”
- have fewer dreams
The Elderly Need as Much Sleep as Anyone
However, just because the elderly sleep less, doesn’t mean they don’t need it. The National Sleep Foundation, a non-profit sleep studies center located in Washington DC, states, “research demonstrates that our sleep needs remain constant throughout adulthood.”
There are many reasons why the elderly have a harder time sleeping than the rest of us. Psychoactive medicines may play a role in disturbing sleep, as senior citizens are the demographic most likely to be taking those medications. Psychological distress might also play a role in disrupting sleep patterns.
Despite the fact that why the elderly sleep less than everyone else is still unclear, it is incredibly important for them to get a good night’s rest every night.
If you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling well rested when you wake up, it might be time to change your mattress. Feeling comfortable in your mattress is the best way to make sure your body knows when you lay down, it’s time to sleep.
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Click here to see how you can sleep well tonight with a new mattress from Dreme.