More than 50% of older Americans with mental health issues have problems getting the recommended level of sleep, according to new research presented at the SLEEP 2009 event. The study, by a team at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, looked at the sleep patterns of 1570 participants aged 60 or over, with reported depressive or similar symptoms.
Some 55% of those involved reported that they slept for an average of 7 hours or less per night, below the recommended 8 hours. Sleep problems in people of this age group can take on more serious connotations compared to younger generations, with cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance among the health problems exacerbated by poor sleep.
"We were surprised by the fact that the self-reported amount of physical activity did not predict functional outcomes of sleep. We anticipated that people who reported lower levels of physical activity would have more difficulty with sleep-related functional outcomes," said lead author Karen Rose PhD. "We were also surprised to find that reported numbers of hours slept each night did not predict whether or not an individual experienced poor functional outcomes as a result of being sleepy or tired."
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