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To Sleep…. To Age…. perchance to dream…..

July 23, 2011

ABOUT SLEEP: A roller coaster
As we get older, how we sleep changes. Personally I enjoy a short nap in the afternoon otherwise I can’t keep going in the evening and I miss all the fun!
Prof. Lack on the ABC  TV show Catalyst described sleep as a roller coaster. The graph below shows how we all go down into deep sleep, then come into light sleep about ninety minutes later, then back into deep sleep, back into light sleep, and so on across the whole night.

                                                                     AGING: MORE AWAKENINGS ACROSS THE NIGHT

LESS SLEEP: in the older personRead More

Well as we age the ride gets shorter of course. There is much less sleep in the older person. And it gets less exciting as well.

Healthy older adults average  6.5 hours sleep and healthy young adults average 8 hours. Children age 10 years need 9.5 hours sleep……

“As we age there’s more lighter sleep, and more awakenings across the night, as you can see. Probably a majority of the older population deals with these changes without any difficulty. …. most of the older population don’t actually report any sleeping difficulty, so we don’t want to give the impression that everybody’s going to have poor sleep and suffer from that as we get older,” says Professor Leon Lack of Flinders University’

LIFESTYLE THERAPY: the importance of exercise
Encouraging exercise is a key component of a sleep program developed at the University of Sydney. Associate Professor Michael Nicholas‘s research has shown that as we age, lifestyle therapy can be effective in easing the vicious cycle between sleep and pain.

SLEEP MEDICATION

Many people wonder if an approach which emphasises changes in lifestyle could mean that people don’t need to take medication for sleep.

“Um, the answer of course is yes”, says Professor Nicholas.

  • So change your life style,
  • get exercise,
  • seek new challenges,
  • maintain social connections and
  • blow the cognitive cobwebs away with some intense training on the Posit Science programs 0r a brain workout of your own choice.

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