There is a common belief that aging causes sleep problems and sleep quality reduction. Many of us could observe the fact that aging people do not sleep well, and very often they do not need a lot of sleep to carry out their daily tasks and activities. However, according to the findings of a recent study of American scientists, the hypothesis about sleep quality reduction connected with aging is nothing but a myth. The study was conducted by a group of experts the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania and involved interviewing over 150,000 American people aged above 40 who were selected randomly for this very scientific research on sleep quality.
Certainly, the main focus of the study was evaluating sleep quality of all modern people aged 50 and above. This research went far beyond measuring sleep duration and the degree of sleep disturbance which is a usual scheme for most of the researches in this field. Scientists based their evaluations and assumptions mainly on personal opinions and personal satisfaction of the participants of all ages from their sleep, instead of relying totally on scientifically received and measured data. At the same time, not only these factors were taken into account when making conclusions and coming up with the findings. People’s race, general health condition, psychological condition, income, social status, and other related issues were analyzed as well.
As numerous previous scientific researches have shown, such factors as poor health and all sorts of stresses are the main things that stand behind our common sleep problems and disturbances. Since aging is closely linked to health problems and numerous related stresses, there was a hypothesis that aging is connected with significant sleep quality reduction. However, the present study found out that aging people over 50 are getting more and more satisfied with their sleep quality. The lowest number of complaints about their sleep came from those participants who were in their early and late 70s. Instead, the experts were surprised to learn the people in their 40s and early 50s are constantly reporting about experiencing serious sleep problems and seep quality reduction. Thus, middle age should be actually considered critical age as to sleep and sleep quality.
The findings evoked great interest of numerous sleep researchers around the world. Some experts claim that actually aging people can experience clear sleep quality reduction, they just may not feel disturbed or bad about it. Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, a known sleep experts and a Professor of Sleep and Physiology at the Surrey Sleep Research Center commented on the findings as the following: “We have got to get away from all these myths about ageing – many people are very content with their sleep.” He said that the findings could be distorted with a lack of objectivity in individual opinion of the participants, or depend on time and the mood of the participants. For example, he said, feeling or anger or joy could influence a person’s perception of sleep.