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NewsBites October 2012 Issue

Older People Have a Harder Time Staying Asleep

Suffer from insomnia? Here’s an eyeopening finding: The real problem, especially with older adults, may not be trouble falling asleep—it’s that they can’t stay asleep. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, using a novel statistical model for evaluating sleep data, report that older people (ages 64-74) were four times more likely to wake up throughout the night than younger people (ages 21-30). The number of transitions between sleep stages relative to number of transitions to wake was approximately six times higher in older persons than young persons, highlighting the difficulty in maintaining sleep in older adults. Publishing their findings in Neurobiology of Aging, researchers commented, “Our findings suggest that the most effective therapies for reducing the sleep disruptions associated with healthy aging should target the continuity of sleep.”

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