Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bed time stories

Instead of insomnia, you may simply have less capacity to sleep. A small sleep lab study of healthy adults suggests that older people take longer to fall asleep and spend less time asleep, on average, adding up to an overall reduction of 90 minutes a night. The study compared the sleep habits of 18 people ages 65 to 72 with those of 35 people ages 18 to 32.

Recognizing that the maximum capacity for sleep changes even during healthy aging may lead to a different view of sleep complaints associating with aging, the study concluded. "if older people believe that they need more sleep than they can achieve, even when they spend extra time in bed, then they may complain of insomnia," explained co-researcher Elizabeth Kiernan, MD, of Harvard university. "they may start using medications needlessly. If they are tired during the day, they should consider evaluation for a sleep disorder that may be interfering with their ability to obtain good sleep at night."


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