Poor Sleep Can Make You Feel Older Than You Are: Study

Health News – Study found a significant association between poor sleep in the over 50s and a more negative outlook on aging that can adversely affect physical, mental, and cognitive health.

In a new study, researchers at the University of Exeter conducted a survey among 4482 people aged 50 and over who are part of the PROTECT study which is an innovative online study that aims to understand what helps people to stay cognitively healthy in their later life.

The researchers observed that many study participants were commenting on their relationships with sleep as a part of the standard questionnaires. Based on these comments, the researchers conducted a questionnaire focused specifically on sleep.

In this research, participants were asked to rate their sleep and whether they had experienced a number of negative age-related changes, including poorer memory, less energy, increased dependence on the help of others, decreased motivation, and having to limit their activities. The participants even completed both questionnaires twice, one year apart.

According to the findings, poor sleepers feel older and have a more negative outlook on their aging. People who rated their sleep the worst felt older and perceived their own physical and mental aging more negatively. The result also showed that addressing sleep difficulties can promote a better perception of aging that can have other health benefits too.

“We’ve got some exciting trials ahead on how to optimize sleep in some particularly vulnerable groups, such as people with dementia in care homes,” said Professor Clive Ballard, one of the researchers of the study published in the journal Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

To Know More You May Refer To:

Sabatini, S., Ukoumunne, O. C., Ballard, C., Collins, R., Corbett, A., Brooker, H., & Clare, L. (2021). Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between subjective sleep difficulties and self-perceptions of aging. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 1-30. https://doi.org/10.1080/15402002.2021.1994405

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