Are You Getting Older - Or Are You Getting Sleep Apnea?

By Brandon R. Peters, MD As my 81-year-old grandma likes to remind me on occasion, "It's hell to get old." More than a nuisance, the cumulative decline that comes with aging can significantly compromise one's quality of life and health. What if some of the problems so often associated with growing older didn't need to occur? Better yet, what if some of these physical and mental impairments could be reversed? Consider the role of sleep apnea as an unexpected contributor to many ailments erroneously attributed to aging and the reversals possible with effective treatment. Sleep Changes with Age It is clear that sleep changes as we become older. In 2015, the National Sleep Foundation altered its recommended sleep needs for people who are older than 65 years (1). Previously, adults were encouraged to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Now it is suggested that older adults may only need 7 to 8 hours of sleep to feel rested. It may not be possible to sleep more. This is an important shift as it has implications in the development of insomnia. If you need 7 hours of sleep at an older age, but you continue to spend 8 or even 9 hours of time in bed, you will start to spend more and more time awake at night. It will take longer to fall asleep. If you wake, it may take longer to fall back asleep, especially towards morning. This poor sleep may result in an earlier bedtime ("I'm tired--I'm going to bed.") or difficulty waking at a regular time. These changes only make the ...
Source: Healthy Living - The Huffington Post - Category: Consumer Health News Source Type: news

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