(Mirror Daily, United States) – A recent study published in the online medical journal, Neuron, explains why older adults don’t sleep as good as younger individuals. The researchers at Berkeley University compiled a list of potential reasons why the elderly have trouble getting a good night’s rest that range from dementia to age taking its toll.
It’s a Vicious Circle Sometimes
According to Bryce Mander, main author of the study, individuals who suffer from dementia are unable to get a good night’s snooze as their fragmented sleep patterns stop them from reaching the deep stages of slumber.
During the deep stages of sleep, amyloid-beta proteins are eliminated, the organ regaining its full strength. However, when patients are unable to get a good night’s rest, the proteins tend to accumulate, further enhancing the effects of dementia.
On the other hand, one of the main symptoms of dementia is a lack of deep sleep caused by the electrolytic imbalance. Mander described this process as a “vicious circle” in which the neurodegenerative disease and poor sleep feed each other.
However, one should not suspect the imminence of dementia after a couple of nights waiting for the Sandman to come. Sleep apnea is also responsible for interrupted snooze sessions. More often than not, sleep apnea is linked to congestive hard disorders or diabetes, the lack of rest contributing to a worsening of symptoms.
Last, but certainly not least, is stress. Stress takes a toll on the entire body causing a plethora of problems from high acidity to – you guessed – a drop in sleep quality. Doctors recommend plenty of exercise and a balanced diet which includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to combat its terrible effects.
So Why Do the Elderly Sleep Less?
Some older adults can experience a drop in sleep quality when they retire because they don’t engage in as much physical exercise. That is why doctors obstinately recommend their elderly patients to have a balanced diet and exercise daily.
The study didn’t find an exact cause of why a big portion of older adults experience sleep troubles, mainly because there isn’t a single culprit for the problem. While for some, it’s a natural symptom of old age, for others it warns the existence of an underlying disease. In any case, all elderly individuals who experience sleep disturbances are recommended to seek medical attention to rule out dementia, sleep apnea, or other serious disorders.
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