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NewsBites May 2012 Issue

Old Age Doesn’t Equal Poor Sleep

Getting older doesn’t have to mean sleeping poorly. Researchers who analyzed a survey of 155,877 Americans report that people over 80 were actually less likely to suffer sleep problems than those ages 18-24. Octogenarian men had less than half the frequency of sleep problems as 18-24-year-old men, while 80-plus women also reported fewer sleep woes. Rather than age, sleep problems were most closely linked to self-reported health status and depression. Female respondents ages 18-24 were also most likely to report feeling tired during the day; rates fell with age, then climbed among those 80-plus, though not to the level seen in the youngest women. Rates of tiredness among men varied little with age, rising only slightly in the late 70s. The results, researchers noted, “challenge the common wisdom that subjective problems with nighttime sleep and daytime tiredness are more common in older adults.”

TO LEARN MORE: Sleep, March 2012; abstract at www.journalsleep.org/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=28450.

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