I have never been a deep sleeper, and more often than not, I have to either read a book or watch some TV before I can drift off.
Now my husband! Well I have often envied him for having the knack to just go off to sleep as soon as his head hits the pillow!
But of late my sleeping patterns have somewhat changed. I sleep earlier, less and far lighter than before.
It can’t continue like this, surely. I honestly cannot remember the last time I actually slept through the whole night and woke up refreshed from a ‘good night sleep!’
But just when I have resigned to the fact that perhaps I am getting older and that this is how it is going to be, I come across an article which suggests that disturbed sleep, waking up tired every day and other symptoms of insomnia are NOT a normal part of ageing!
According to ‘experts’ although older adults have sleep problems that can be caused by ageing, other issues also contribute to the prevalence of sleep complaints and they should be discussed and investigated.
A US poll conducted by the University of Michigan and released at the end of last year, found that almost half of those 65 and older have trouble getting to sleep and more than a third are taking prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids.
“Good sleep protects against negative outcomes and those who sleep poorly are at higher risk of functional decline and depression,” says sleep researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Adam Spira.
The American College of Physicians defines chronic insomnia as the presence of symptoms of distress and impairment that last for at least three nights a week for at least three months and are not linked to medical or mental problems or other sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.
The National Sleep Foundation says older adults need about the same amount of sleep as other adults, seven to eight hours a night.
The morning wake-up time is a critical period when the circadian system is sensitive to being reset, says clinical faculty member at the John Hopkins Sleep Disorders Centre David Neubauer.
“Getting up at about the same time each morning stabilises our internal rhythm and makes it more likely that we will be able to fall asleep eight hours earlier than that time,” he says.
I don’t have a problem waking up the same time each morning, it’s the eight hour sleep that I am having a problem with!