By J. Semo
Ageing is not easy. As we age, we are increasingly susceptible to sleep disturbances. Age creeps up on us and brings with it many misfortunate “bedfellows” such as psychiatric problems, increased risk of medical illness, chronic pain, reduced social contacts, loss of loved ones, and many others. The irony is that disturbed sleep worsens other illnesses.
Today we know that ageing is related to changes in the architecture of healthy sleep which works hand in hand with the degeneration of the brain. Older adults spend less time repairing tissues in what we call “deep sleep”. Further, they suffer changes to their internal “clock”. The consequence is that after a disruption in sleeping patterns, for example after a flight overseas, elderly people take longer to get back into normal sleeping routines.