BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A new study developed by researchers from the University of California in Berkeley suggests that older people can no longer get deep sleep. Thus, they do not get all the rest they need, and this might affect their health.
Bryce Mander, the lead author of the study published in the journal Neuron, said that getting fragmented sleep instead of engaging into deep sleep could have some damaging effects. For instance, some of the conditions which are facilitated by poor sleep are dementia and depression.
Vicious cycle of sleep and disease
These people who have fragmented sleep miss the deep stages which are so beneficial, for they wake up several times during the night. Some medical conditions, or treatments for those conditions, might affect sleeping patterns, but it goes the other way around, too. Poor sleep can lead to the development of diseases.
The research gives a clear example. There is a two-way relation between dementia and lack of sleep. They work like a circle, where sleep deprivation feeds dementia and the disease causes poor sleep. However, if the patients succeed in engaging into deep sleep, it might help them improving their condition.
People can help themselves reach deep sleep more easily
Older people change their sleeping habits after a certain age, and this should not be worrying. However, they should not forget that sleep is vital for their health and not neglect it. Thus, they might try to help themselves get better sleep by exercising as much as possible and opting for a healthy diet.
If people notice that they spent less than six hours sleeping, they should go see a doctor. They might discover what bothers their sleep and makes them spend fewer hours of rest. One reason might be sleep apnea, which causes people to suffer repeated stops and starts in their breathing during sleep.
This is known to affect sleep to a large extent, and they should know if they have a condition which affects their sleep. In some other cases, they might only have to make several changes in their lifestyle and their sleep pattern can improve immediately.
In the end, researchers warn people that everybody should take care of how they sleep. Deep sleep is important for everybody, regardless of age, and no one should forget to take all the necessary rest for a healthy life.
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