There is a way to get better and faster sleep according to a new study. Don’t worry, you don’t have to change your lifestyle to achieve it, because the path to better sleep could be as simple as growing older.
Sleep is a good indicator of overall health and pathological conditions. People of different ages and genders have a different need for sleep, but the relationships across gender and age haven’t been well understood. One recent large sleep study elucidated some aspects of those relationships and fill in the gaps of our understanding.
Better Sleep Awaits
The study, “Age and Gender Variations of Sleep in Subjects without Sleep Disorders” was performed by a research team from Switzerland and involved 6,733 randomly-selected participants from ages 35 to 75. People with sleep disorders were intentionally left out so researchers could focus on healthy people. A number of objective and subjective evaluations of sleep were performed to discern physical differences in their sleep and to quantify interpretations of sleep quality.
The study yielded some interesting results. It showed that “aging was associated with a gradual shift towards morningness,” meaning older participants tended to go to bed and wake earlier than the the younger ones. Though older people as a whole slept for less time, they complained less of sleepiness and “pathological sleepiness is significantly lower than younger subjects.” It seems, older people simply need less sleep.
Sleep latency, or the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, increased with age in women, but not so with men. Sleep efficiency decreases with age, however. That is, older people are more likely to stir and wake during the night than their younger counterparts. In spite of this, older people report better daytime functioning and sleep quality.
Good Sleep Now
If you’re looking for better sleep, but don’t want to wait until your senior years, there are some things you can do today.
- Cover your comfort. Get a new sleep system. New sleep systems have been demonstrated to improve sleep quality and reduce discomfort. If a new mattress doesn’t help, try an adjustable bed frame. These provide a level of comfort at the push of a button that is otherwise unobtainable.
- Make your bedroom a perfect place to sleep. How do you like your environment when you sleep? Set your light and temperature levels before heading to bed.
- Stay on schedule. Get to bed at nearly the same time every night. This will make it easier to fall asleep and you’ll end up feeling more rested.
- If you snooze, you lose. Hitting the snooze button might feel like a quick fix, but it may result in feeling more tired. Practice getting up on the first sound of your alarm.
Better sleep that comes faster is a great reward for living a long life. There are things to look forward to in our golden years, but don’t wait to invest in your sleep. Your mind and body will thank you for it.