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Aging

Alzheimer’s And Sleep

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia, which affects 5.3 million people) can be scary and confusing—for the person affected, as well as family members and friends. Learn how the disease can affect someone’s sleep, so you know what to expect and how you can help. If you’re a caregiver, try to help the patient understand the following. Nighttime Awakenings Are Common. Dementia often causes a change in sleep patterns. In fact, as many as 50 percent of those who have mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s experience insomnia or increased napping. It’s still unclear exactly how sleep troubles and Alzheimer’s are linked—less sleep may lead to Alzheimer’s or maybe Alzheimer’s causes the sleep…

Sleep Issues Unique to the Elderly

The more candles on your birthday cake, the more likely you are to struggle with sleep. You might have always imagined retirement as the time in your life where you finally get to sit back and enjoy life—and get enough sleep! The reality, however, is that sleep changes as you get older, and not always for the better. In fact, as many as 40 percent of older adults are plagued with sleep problems. Even healthy individuals often take longer to fall asleep, sleep more lightly, wake up more often, spend less time in deep sleep, and may even sleep about a half hour less overall. So much for catching up on all those years…

How Menopause Impacts Sleep

Discover what’s happening with your female hormones and get tricks for easing symptoms, so you can nod off to dreamland. Hormones affect your mood and sleep—especially as you age. In fact, about 61 percent of women who are past menopause (the one-year anniversary of your last period) and almost 80 percent of women who are in perimenopause (when your body starts to transition toward menopause) report sleep problems. That’s partly because your ovaries are slowing down their production of the sleep-promoting hormone progesterone, and partly because you might be hit with major sleep disrupters such as hot flashes  or night sweats due to lower estrogen levels. Try these tricks to sleep more soundly. 1. Keep…

Do Aging People Need Less Sleep?

Why you get less shut-eye as you age—and whether or not that’s a good thing The short answer: Grandma needs just as much sleep as you do. After age 18, most adults require seven to nine hours of shut-eye, no matter what decade of life they are in. However, the elderly often fall short of this number. About 44 percent of the elderly population experiences insomnia.The condition is more serious in this age group as it increases the risk of falls and can lead to cognitive decline. Read on for some of the reasons seniors that are missing out on sleep. Illness: Health problems like heart failure, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, or an enlarged prostate can make…

Do All Animals Sleep?

Non-human animals’ sleep patterns vary. While scientists can’t say for certain that every animal sleeps, most creatures in the animal kingdom do, indeed, catch some zzz’s. But not all animals experience sleep in the same way. For example, one animal may go through different stages of sleep than another. Insects and fish, unlike some birds and all mammals, don’t experience Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is when most dreams occur. The number of hours than an animal sleeps can also vary widely. Cats sleep, on average, for 15 hours a day, while rats clock up to 20 hours a day. Smaller animals, which often have higher rates of brain metabolism,…

Changing Sleep Needs

The amount of sleep you need (and the amount you actually get) ebbs and flows as you age. Between infancy and old age, your sleep needs fluctuate. While there’s no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to sleep, you should aim to get the recommended amount for your age. Are you in the right ballpark? Use this guide to see how much you need. Babies Newborns (ages 0-3 months) need more sleep more than any other age group, typically 14 to 17 hours of sleep per 24-hour day. It’s likely that this sleep will be broken down into several three- or four-hour periods throughout the day and night. Infants Infants (those up to age 11 months, generally sleep between 12…