Like fine wine, sleep may get better with age.
At least that’s what a study of more than 150,000 adults suggests. According to the new report, many people in their 80s have fewer complaints about their sleep than their younger counterparts.
Although the results are based on self-reports, not objective reports of sleep quality and quantity, “we were very surprised at the findings at first,” says researcher Michael Grandner, PhD, in an email. He is a research associate at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
“We expected to see self-reported sleep disturbances and daytime tiredness increase with age. However, what we saw was the opposite,” he says.
In the study, 155,877 men and women were asked how they slept and whether or not they were tired during the day. People with health problems and depression were more likely to say their sleep was sub-par. Overall, women reported more sleep problems and fatigue than men.
There seemed to be an uptick in reported sleep problems during middle age — especially among women, but most participants reported less sleep disturbances as they grew older, the study shows.
“Although specific sleep problems may worsen with age, many older people do not report that their sleep is, overall, worse,” Grandner tells WebMD.
The findings are published in the March issue of Sleep.
SOURCE: WebMD Health News