Senior Slumber

Put all those stereotypes about seniors crawling under the covers at dusk and puttering around the house drinking warm milk in the middle of the night to rest: Most members of the social security set get plenty of zzzz’s and manage to sleep through the night just fine thank you, according to new research.

It’s been a commonly held belief that many mature adults begin to struggle with insomnia as they age; leading them to be drowsy by day and prone to early bedtimes. But researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who studied a fairly large sample of 1200 adults ages, found more than of 75 percent of them normally get eight hours of sleep a night. The study group also slumbered between the normally expected hours of 11 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. While they may not be watching Late Night with David Letterman, researchers suggests this is yet another positive sign of the impact healthy aging can have on overall life quality: “Our findings suggest that in matters regarding sleep and sleepiness, as in many other aspects of life, most seniors today are doing better than is generally thought,” Timothy Monk, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said in news release.

“The stereotype of most seniors going to bed at 8 p.m., sleeping very lightly and being unduly sleepy during the day may be quite inaccurate, suggesting that 60 really is the new 40,”  Monk added.

“The take-away for older adults is that if you can keep yourself healthy and avoid or treat age-related diseases and disorders, then you’ll be able to sleep like a younger adult.” Monk noted.

Meanwhile, the researcher noted that adults with sleep disorders may have underlying medical issues which –with proper treatment—may have them resting easier (and longer) too.