- Researchers have discovered a link between poor sleeping habits and negative feelings about aging.
- Poor sleep can also be detrimental to your health.
- As you age, getting better sleep can improve your quality of life.
- Experts say there are several scientifically proven steps you can follow to get a better night’s sleep.
Do you feel older than you are when you first get out of bed in the mornings? University of Exeter researchers say it may be because you aren’t sleeping well.
According to the study’s lead author, Serena SabatiniPoor sleep quality has been associated with negative feelings about aging. This includes feeling older and having a less positive outlook on aging.
In addition, people who don’t sleep well can become more prone to problems with their health.
They note, however, that treating sleep problems may improve people’s experiences of aging.
The study included 4,482 people 50 years and older. study.
Participants were part of another study, the PROTECT study. The goal of the PROTECT study is to learn what protects people’s cognitive health as they grow older.
This study was inspired by the PROTECT study where many people commented on their sleep quality and how it correlated to how they feel.
These comments prompted them to create a questionnaire that asked participants about their sleep quality.
The questionnaire also asked for information about memory, energy, independence and motivation.
The questionnaire was completed by the participants twice, one year apart.
The researchers found that those who rated their sleep as the worst felt older when they analyzed the data.
They also felt they were ageing badly.
Experts say sleeping badly doesn’t just make you feel more negative about aging, but it can also have real effects on your health.
Stephanie GriggsFrances Payne Bolton School of Nursing assistant professor and Schubert Center for Child Studies faculty associate at Case Western Reserve University said that we cycle through rapid and non-rapid stages of sleep: N1,N2, and N3.
“These processes and the stages of sleep are essential to help us restore, recover from illness, repair our body, consolidate our memories, and regulate our emotions to name a few,” she said.
She explained that different hormones are secreted and regulated during each stage.
NREM N3 (slow-wave sleep) is an example of NREM N3. It secretes growth hormone. This hormone is responsible in repairing blood vessels. Griggs explained that this is important as tiny tears in blood vessels can lead plaque buildup, eventually leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Cristiano GuaranaAssistant professor of management and entrepreneurial at Indiana University Kelley School of Business, he explained that poor sleep can make it more difficult to think.
He said that sleep deprivation decreases connectivity between the amygdala, the prefrontal cortex, and the brain.
“In general, those regions are responsible for controlling our impulses and processing relevant information. For example, sleep-deprived individuals have lapses in attention, make poor choices, engage in unethical behavior, and are bad at regulating negative emotions,” he said.
“Basically, when individuals do not get enough sleep, they are less equipped to process information,” he concluded.
Poor sleep can impact your health, and affect your feelings about aging. Griggs & Guarana both mentioned that there are many scientifically proven ways to improve your quality of sleep.
Avoid daytime napping
Griggs explained that sleep homeostasis is one of the processes that regulates sleep. She explained that pressure to sleep builds up throughout the day.
If we succumb to the urge to nap it reduces the pressure and makes it more difficult to fall asleep at nights.
Maintain a regular schedule
Guarana suggested that you try to go to bed and get up at the same times, even on weekends.
“The main reason that regularity is king,” he explained, “is because we do have an internal 24-hour biological clock that expects regularity.”
Avoid screens before bed
Griggs suggests that you turn off blue light as soon as you are going to bed.
Exposure to blue lightThis can block the release of melatonin (a hormone that regulates the time of sleep). To trigger melatonin production, you need to be dark.
Keep your bedroom cool
To go to sleep, and stay asleep, the body needs to lower its internal temperature by a few degrees. Guarana suggests aiming for about 65°F (18°C).
Keep your bedroom dark
You may also want to avoid screentime.
Griggs recommends using light-blocking shades and an eye mask to block out the light.
Your brain can associate your bed with your sleep.
Guarana suggests that if you’ve been in bed for about 25 minutes and just can’t get to sleep, get up and do something different.
“The main reason for this is that the brain is learning to associate the bed with wakefulness,” said Guarana. “We need to stop this association.”
He said, “Return to bed when you feel sleepy.”
Avoid sleeping in the evening
Griggs said if you’re tired and prone to falling asleep early in the evening, this can also contribute to poor sleep at night.
In this instance, she suggests avoiding bright sunlight in the early evening. She suggests wearing sunglasses outdoors and blue-light blocking glasses indoors.
You can also buy a high-quality fluorescent or LED lamp (200 to 300 Lux) and leave it on for 2 to 3 hours each night.
She said that a bluish or cool white is better than a white warm.
Avoid alcohol and coffee
Guarana recommends avoiding coffee in afternoon and limiting alcohol consumption in the evening.
He said that both will affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Source: Health Line