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Seniors with Sleeping Issues May Suffer Reduced Quality of Life

A new study from Los Angeles has shown that seniors who have a poor quality of sleep also experience depression and other negative symptoms.

Good sleep is important for everyone, but a new study shows that the necessity of quality sleep is especially crucial when it comes to seniors.  A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that if seniors don’t sleep well each night, it could decrease their overall quality of life.

The research focused on residents of Assisted Living Facilities in Los Angeles.  The study followed up with them for 6 months and traced their sleep patterns and emotional states.  The researchers found that the 65% of seniors that reported that they slept poorly also have increased levels of depression and poor quality of life.

Of the seniors studied, sleep was about 5 hours on average.  The people also reported “trouble sleeping” as defined by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality index. This includes waking up in the middle of the night, or taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.  The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index is a free test that measures your quality of sleep. It only takes 5 minutes to complete and can be found here.

Those who reported poor sleep in the Los Angeles study were not only more depressed but also more likely to need help with common everyday activities.  Jennifer Martin, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles and VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System stated, “We cannot conclude that poor sleep truly causes these negative changes; however, future studies should evaluate ways to improve sleep in ALFs to see if sleeping better might improve quality of life, delay functional decline and reduce risk of depression.”

The study does mention that there are effective methods for improving sleep, for example, bright light therapy.  Other methods for improving sleep include spending time outside during the day, resisting alcohol or caffeine before bed and avoiding smoking.

Sources:
medicalnewstoday.com
sleep.pitt.edu
health.com

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