Sleep disturbances among Hispanics may increase their risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study. Researchers found that insomnia and prolonged sleep duration appear to be linked to a decline in neurocognitive functioning that can precede the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
This finding is particularly important because Hispanics have a significantly higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared with non-Hispanic whites. Onset also occurs sooner, according to prior research from Duke University. Continue reading
Sleep. It’s that wonderful time when your body is relaxed, you’re soon off to dreamland and hours later wake up refreshed, ready to tackle the coming day.
If only it were so easy.
For many older adults, achieving quality sleep is hard. More than half of those over age 65 report difficulty sleeping. Continue reading
The recent suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams has put a spotlight on suicide and depression. However, older adults who suffer from sleep problems are at even greater risk of suicide, according to a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
Researchers investigated the relative independent risk for suicide associated with poor subjective sleep quality in a population-based study of 14,456 community-dwelling older adults (age 65+) during a 10-year observation period. They compared the sleep quality of 20 suicide victims with the sleep quality of 400 similar individuals during that time. Participants with dysfunctional sleeping patterns had a 1.4 times greater chance of death by suicide than well-rested people.
Even after adjusting for depressive symptoms, they concluded that poor subjective sleep quality appears to present “considerable risk” for severe suicidal behaviors 10 years later. Risk increases among patients with multiple illnesses. Continue reading
Why do so many older adults complain about poor sleep? It turns out that physiological changes, coupled with increased prevalence of chronic conditions, multiple medications, and changes in overall sleep patterns can make getting a good night’s sleep pretty difficult for many people.
Sleep problems in older adults are often undiagnosed or untreated simply because many people believe they’re a normal part of aging or that nothing can be done to help. However, diagnosing and treating any underlying medical disorders can dramatically improve sleep.
Seniors need about 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep – about the same or a little less than their younger selves, however, the quality of that sleep is not as good. As we age, we spend less time in non-REM sleep, which is when the deepest sleep occurs. Research on the sleep habits of older adults show it also takes older adults more time to fall asleep and to stay asleep. Continue reading
Image by Tobyotter via flickr.
Non-restorative sleep is the strongest, independent predictor of widespread pain onset among adults over the age of 50, according to a new study in Arthritis & Rheumatology. Researchers in the United Kingdom found anxiety, memory impairment and poor physical health among older adults may also increase the risk of developing widespread pain.
Chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans at a cost topping $600 billion annually, according to the Alliance for Aging Research. Musculoskeletal pain is more prevalent as people age, with up to 80 percent of people 65 years of age and older experiencing daily pain. Widespread pain that affects multiple areas of the body – the hallmark feature of fibromyalgia – affects 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men over age 50 according to previous studies. While there is no cure for chronic pain, several studies suggest that exercise and Vitamin D supplements may be beneficial. Continue reading
Image by Tony Alter via flickr.
How much and how well older adults sleep may be associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in JAMA Neurology this week. Researchers from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that buildup of ß-Amyloid plaques — one of the hallmarks of the disease — was greater in people who reported sleep disturbances and who slept for fewer hours than those who got at least seven hours of Z’s with good sleep quality.
Fluctuations in ß-Amyloid levels may be regulated by sleep-wake patterns according to the report’s authors. Investigators looked at data from 70 adults (average age 76 years) in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Plaque buildup was measured by imaging of the brain.
According to the National Institute on Aging, as many as 5.1 million Americans may have the disease. First symptoms usually appear after age 60, but it’s likely that damage to the brain starts a decade or more before problems are evident. Previous studies have linked disturbed sleep to cognitive impairment in older people. Continue reading