Most people recognize that not getting enough sleep is going to make it difficult to function the next day. However, what few people realize is that a lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems – especially for seniors. As seniors get on in years, their bodies become more vulnerable to illnesses. New studies reveal that a poor sleep pattern can have a negative impact on heart health.
A study from the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences found that a lack of good-quality sleep can have a number of negative impacts. One of the reasons that this is especially important for seniors is because our sleep patterns often change as we get older. This makes it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
The connection between sleep and heart health
Because more and more adults throughout the country are struggling with sleep deprivation, finding out how this affects cardiovascular health becomes increasingly important. The study was done with 657 healthy men between the ages of 25 and 64. These men had no history of heart problems.
The study began in 1994, and it lasted a remarkable 14 years. Interestingly enough, 63 percent of the men who ranked poorly on the sleep test had a heart attack during these 14 years. The results of the study found that those who were diagnosed with a sleep condition (14 years ago) had an increased risk of stroke that ranged between 1.5 to 4 times higher. Their chances of experiencing a heart attack were 2.6 times higher as well.
Social factors that affect sleep and health
The researchers found that mental health conditions (such as anxiety and depression) were closely linked to sleep disorders in their participants. Most of the men with sleep disorders lacked a high school education, were divorced, or widowed. This suggests that there are social factors that can play an important role in declining health.
The lead researcher suggested that we should treat poor sleep quality as a modifiable risk factor, in the same classification as an inactive lifestyle or an unhealthy diet. They stated that they hoped that the results would encourage people to get more sleep at night.
Given that seniors are already prone to certain mental health conditions and often find that it becomes increasingly difficult to get enough sleep, this should only serve to highlight the importance of enough social activity and good bedrest.