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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sleep problems in older adults

According to Interaction.org.ua men and women in their 80s and 90s sleep less and have poorer quality sleep than young individuals, but they are also less likely to report feeling unrested or overly sleepy the next day.
At the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and co-investigators, the sleep test, or "polysomnography," showed that the total average nightly sleep time declined from 386 minutes among women in their 40s to 341 minutes among those 80 years of age or older. In men, the corresponding sleep times declined from 361 minutes to 326 minutes.
Report indicates significant differences between men and women. In men, older age was linked to less deep sleep.
While older age was associated more strongly with poor sleep - according to the test results -- in men than in women, women were more likely to report having poor sleep.
Several treatments have been found to improve sleep in older adults, such as behavioral therapy, biofeedback, management of stress and grief, and use of benzodiazepines (such as Xanax) and melatonin.
By contrast, there was little association between older age and sleep stage in women, but elderly women were more likely to have trouble falling asleep.
First study author Dr. Mark L. Unruh noted in correspondence with Reuters Health added : "Any sleep disorders identified should also be directly addressed".

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