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Aging News & Information

Older People Sleeping Less Than Six Hours See Stroke Risk Increase

Second study finds some with sleep problems are just afraid of the dark; both studies presented today at SLEEP 2012

June 11, 2012 – Older people who regularly sleep less than six hours a night significantly increase their risk of stroke symptoms, according to new research. The three-year study involved 5,666 adults of normal weight with a low risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

The participants had no history of stroke, transient ischemic attack, stroke symptoms or high risk for OSA at the start of the study, which is being presented today at SLEEP 2012.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham recorded the first stroke symptoms, along with demographic information, stroke risk factors, depression symptoms and various health behaviors.

After adjusting for body-mass index (BMI), they found a strong association between daily sleep periods of less than six hours and a greater incidence of stroke symptoms for middle-age to older adults, even beyond other risk factors.

 

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Stress in Older Adults Who Sleep Poorly May Lead to Poor Health, Death Risk

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Aging Eyes with Yellowing Lens Linked to Sleepless Nights for Senior Citizens

Cataract could be factor in frequent insomnia among elderly; sleep quality has improved after cataract surgery - Sept. 1, 2011

Older Men at High Risk of High Blood Pressure If Not Getting Ample Deep Sleep

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Older Women with Sleep-Disordered Breathing at Risk of Cognitive Decline, Dementia

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Interestingly, the study found no association between short sleep periods and stroke symptoms among overweight and obese participants.

"In employed middle-aged to older adults, relatively free of major risk factors for stroke such as obesity and sleep-disordered breathing, short sleep duration may exact its own negative influence on stroke development," said lead author Megan Ruiter, PhD.

"We speculate that short sleep duration is a precursor to other traditional stroke risk factors, and once these traditional stroke risk factors are present, then perhaps they become stronger risk factors than sleep duration alone."

Further research may support the results, providing a strong argument for increasing physician and public awareness of the impact of sleep as a risk factor for stroke symptoms, especially among persons who appear to have few or no traditional risk factors for stroke, she said.

"Sleep and sleep-related behaviors are highly modifiable with cognitive-behavioral therapy approaches and/or pharmaceutical interventions," Ruiter said. "These results may serve as a preliminary basis for using sleep treatments to prevent the development of stroke."

Ruiter and colleagues collected their data as part of the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, led by George Howard, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. REGARDS enrolled 30,239 people ages 45 and older between January 2003 and October 2007, and is continuing to follow them for health changes.

The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The abstract "Short sleep predicts stroke symptoms in persons of normal weight" is being presented today at SLEEP 2012, the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) in Boston.

A joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, the annual SLEEP meeting brings together an international body of more than 5,500 leading clinicians and scientists in the fields of sleep medicine and sleep research.

Some Adults with Sleep Problems are Actually Afraid of the Dark

Researchers wonder how many actually have an active and untreated phobia

June 11, 2012 - A small study of Toronto college students is shedding light on a contributing factor of insomnia that might be hard to admit – an adult fear of the dark. Nearly half of the study participants who reported having poor sleep also reported a fear of the dark.

Researchers confirmed this objectively by measuring blink responses to sudden noise bursts in light and dark surroundings. Good sleepers became accustomed to the noise bursts but the poor sleepers grew more anticipatory when the lights were down.

"The poor sleepers were more easily startled in the dark compared with the good sleepers," said Taryn Moss, the study's lead author. "As treatment providers, we assume that poor sleepers become tense when the lights go out because they associate the bed with being unable to sleep. Now we're wondering how many people actually have an active and untreated phobia."

Colleen Carney, PhD, the principal investigator, said insomnia treatments are highly effective but not everyone responds or completely recovers. New approaches may be warranted. For example, the most effective insomnia treatments encourage people to leave the dark bedroom and go into another, lit room; however, this would not be a way to treat a dark-related phobia.

"We may need to add treatment components for these patients and adapt existing treatment components in light of the phobia," Carney said. "A lot more research is needed, but we believe we have stumbled across an unmet treatment need for some poor sleepers."

The abstract "Are people with insomnia afraid of the dark? A pilot study" from Ryerson University Sleep & Depression Lab is being presented today at SLEEP 2012, the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) in Boston.


More links to news about sleep and senior citizens

Researchers Add Colon Cancer to List of Physical Problems Possible from Lack of Sleep

Inadequate sleep previously associated with higher risks of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and death  - Feb. 8, 2011


Sleep Apnea Linked to Increased Risk of Stroke; Doubles Danger for Older Men

Men with moderate to severe sleep apnea were nearly three times more likely to have a stroke than men with no or mild sleep apnea - watch video - April 9, 2010


Healthy People Need Less Sleep as They Age; Seniors Should Not Be Sleepy in Daytime

Senior citizens slept about 20 minutes less than middle-aged adults, who slept 23 minutes less than young adults in study - Feb. 1, 2010


Senior Citizens Improve Sleep by Stimulating Biological Clock with Blue Light Glasses

As we age, the lens in the eye thickens and the pupil shrinks, reducing the amount of light passing through to the retina; earlier study opted for gold glasses to block blue light - May 29, 2009


Tests for Obstructive Sleep Apnea to be Covered by Medicare

OSA is diagnosed by counting the apnea episodes or breathing disturbances during a specific time span - March 4, 2009


Sleep Apnea Connection to Stroke and Death Explained by New Study

One in 10 senior citizens suffer with sleep apnea that is more common as people age

Jan. 6, 2009


Sleeping Less than 7.5 Hours Daily May Cause Heart Disease for Elderly with Hypertension

Particularly when it occurs with elevated nighttime blood pressure; sleep patterns should be checked for those with high blood pressure

Nov. 12, 2008


Elderly Women Increase Their Risk of Falling with Less Than Five Hours Sleep

About one-third of adults older than age 65 experience falls each year

Sept. 8, 2008


Study Indicates Older People Just Need Less Sleep than Young Adults

With the same time in bed, older people take longer to fall asleep and sleep for less time than younger people do

July 25, 2008


Older Women Who Nap Less, Go Back to Sleep Easily Achieve Healthy Aging

Study of  2,226 senior women, sixty and older, finds 20.8% are “successful agers”.

June 11, 2008


Graphic Brain Scans Shows Memory Loss from Sleep Apnea

Scans reveal dwindling of brain structures that store memory

June 11, 2008


Sleep Disruption Linked to Increased Cardiovascular Risk

Certain sleep disruptions such as obstructive sleep apnea known to convey extensive cardiovascular risk

March 30, 2007


Older Men Living at Home Survive Longer with Undisturbed Sleep and 'Robust Rhythms'

Regular sleep routine – to bed and up at regular times – means good health for senior men

June 11, 2008


Snoring Linked to Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension and Stroke

Study says odds of heart attack are 34% higher, hypertension up 40%, stroke 60%

March 3, 2008


Harvard Wants America to Sleep Better and Contributes New Interactive Website

‘Health Sleep’ aimed at helping people better understand sleep

Feb. 27, 2008


Three New Studies Focus on Problems in Sleeping for Senior Citizens

Respiratory disturbances, periodic leg movement with cognitive impairment, and benefits of daytime nap are explored

Feb. 1, 2008


Reducing or Increasing Sleep Leads to More Deaths from Different Causes

Sleep Medicine group offers tips on how to get a good night’s sleep - Dec. 3, 2007


Risk of Death Doubles from Too Little or Too Much Sleep Says British Study

NIH says senior citizens should know sleep problems not a normal part of aging - Sept. 24, 2007


Ohio Scientists Pushing Blue-Blocking Glasses, Lights to Improve Sleep

Website says if glasses don't improve sleep, return them within 30 days and money will be refunded

By Tucker Sutherland, editor - Nov. 13, 2007


Senior Citizens Toss and Turn with Many Sleep Problems that Come with Aging

Many older people may not be getting enough sleep for healthy aging - Aug. 14, 2007


Geriatric Conditions May Hinder Half of All Senior Citizens in Daily Activities

Same level of dependency as older patients with chronic diseases - Aug. 8, 2007


Kicking Spouse in Bed at Night Can Now Be Blamed on Your Genes


Gene found responsible for Restless Legs Syndrome affecting 10% of senior citizens - July 19, 2007

Sleep Problems Among the Elderly Linked to Suicide Risk

Many older adults get less sleep than needed due to trouble falling asleep - June 14, 2007


Sleep Disruption Linked to Increased Cardiovascular Risk

Certain sleep disruptions such as obstructive sleep apnea known to convey extensive cardiovascular risk - March 30, 2007


Mistake for Doctors to Neglect Insomnia Treatment in Older Patients

Excessive daytime sleepiness is best predictor of poor health

January 3, 2007


Tips for Senior Citizens to Get a Good Nights Sleep Offered by Longevity Center

New report issued: The Role of Sleep In Healthy Aging

December 7, 2006


Sleep Studies of Older People Find Behavioral Treatment Helps Insomnia; Women Endangered by Restless Legs

October 2, 2006


Sleep Evaluation Should be Routine Medical Care Says Editorial

September 18, 2006


Advice for Senior Citizens on Finding a Good Night's Sleep

Research finds that sleep problems grow with the accumulation of illnesses, not years.

September 18, 2006

 

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