Research Reveals New Information About Senior Sleep

Despite amazing advances in knowledge about sleep in the last few years, there are still so many things we don’t know.  One of them is why senior citizens seem to sleep differently than younger people.  New research, however, may be opening the door for more understanding of senior sleep.

Researchers at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland looked at a mixture of subjective and objective evaluation of sleep, ranging from questionnaires to sleep study. This enabled them to examine both the physical differences in sleep and whether individuals of different ages interpreted their sleep quality differently.  The research team studied 6733 participants between the ages of 35 and 75 years.

The research uncovered a number of interesting findings about seniors and sleep, including:

  • Aging is associated with a gradual shift toward being an early bird.  What this means is that, generally speaking, older people tend to go to bed earlier and wake earlier in the morning than younger people.
  • Sleep latency, or the length of time it takes you to fall asleep at night, is shown to increase with age, but only for women, with little difference in men’s speed of getting to sleep.
  • Sleep efficiency and length decreases with age in both genders, with older people more restless during sleep and more likely to wake up than younger individuals.
  • Despite sleeping less than their younger counterparts, the older participants reported better sleep quality and daytime functioning.

The findings indicated that sleep complaints among seniors are not the norm, and should be taken seriously by medical professionals.

Source: News Medical