Take a guess.
You got it: better sleep may actually be one of the secret benefits of living longer and living healthier. A study in the May 1 issue of the journal Sleep indicates that sleep factors big time into one’s quality of life and longevity. This is an important study because it’s the first to look at sleep issues in a large sample of exceptionally old adults—including 3,927 who were between 90 and 99 years of age and 2,800 people who had reached the century mark!
Some of the finer details and findings of this latest study, which took place among China’s elderly population, were:
- 65 percent of the sample reported that their sleep quality was good or very good, and the weighted average daily sleep time was about 7.5 hours including naps.
- the oldest adults aged 100 and above were 70 percent more likely to report good sleep quality than younger participants aged 65 to 79, after controlling for variables such as demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status and health conditions.
- Men were 23 percent more likely than women to report sleeping well.
- Health problems were associated with worse sleep quality.
- The odds of reporting good sleep quality also were lower in people who often felt anxious, had at least one chronic disease or struggled with everyday tasks.
- 84 percent more likely to report sleeping well if they had adequate medical services, and they were 56 percent more likely to report good sleep quality if their family was in good economic condition.
There’s no question that health conditions, which often develop the older we get, can cut into the quality of sleep. And there’s also no doubt that access to quality medical care, and having enough money to live (less stress!) factors into sleep quality. I wonder if older adults reportedly slept better than their younger counterparts because they were better at handling stress? (It’s been reported that the wisdom of age bears the wisdom of knowing how to cope with stress.)