Do You Age Slower If You Sleep More?

Your sleeping habits may alter as you age. You may observe that you tire out earlier in the day than you used to or that you have difficulty sleeping at night.

Up until around age 60, the majority of sleep characteristics decrease with age and then mostly stay the same. This is particularly true for those who are in good health and don't experience sleep issues.

Sleep Patterns Change

A normal sleep cycle consists of multiple phases: NREM 1 (non-rapid eye movement) is a light phase, followed by NREM 2 (a deeper, more restorative phase). At last, you reach the REM phase, during which you can see and dream. Every one of these stages has a distinct function. Enough cycles through each of these stages are necessary for optimum mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

An irregular sleep schedule can have an impact on how quickly you age. According to one study, those who sleep less consistently—defined as those whose average sleep time varies by more than thirty minutes over the course of seven nights—have a twofold higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who sleep the most regularly.

According to the research, insufficient sleep may also accelerate the aging process by altering how the brain processes information, disrupting the flow of information between different parts of the brain, and impairing memory, appetite, and mood. The PSQI total scores, for example, are summary assessments of sleep quality that the researchers claim do not adequately capture these intricate interactions and should be considered partially separate symptoms.

New Mental Health Issues

It is not a given that a restful night's sleep will translate into a happy and healthy existence. A lot of people deal with mental health problems, which can make it difficult to get a decent night's sleep.

For instance, certain patients with mental illnesses like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia may experience trouble getting to sleep and remaining asleep. Sleep disturbances can also be caused by other issues, including seasonal affective disorder or a history of self-harm. Insomnia can result from taking some medications, including those for the heart, high blood pressure, depression, and Parkinson's disease. Even some over-the-counter decongestants contain pseudoephedrine, a stimulant that can keep individuals awake at night.

Other side effects of these disorders that can accelerate aging include dark circles and puffy eyes, obesity-causing desires, and difficulty focusing on duties at home and at work. Getting these illnesses treated and assisted can have a significant impact. Regretfully, almost 60% of people who report just fair or poor mental health have not been able to access the necessary resources.

Changing Circadian Rhythms

Biological clocks, also known as circadian rhythms, regulate everything from behavior to metabolism and hormone production. They typically operate on 24-hour cycles. They offer the ideal conditions for cell growth and development and aid in maintaining the body's regular sleep-wake cycle.

Circadian rhythms are shared by almost all living things, including fungi, plants, mammals, and microbes. Although environmental cues such as temperature, activity, and daylight have an impact, your brain's internal clock, housed in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), is the main regulator of circadian rhythms.

Your circadian rhythms may become desynchronized with the day-night cycle as you age, resulting in symptoms such as shift work disorder, jet lag, and delayed sleep phase syndrome. Speak with your healthcare practitioner if you're experiencing problems falling or staying asleep at night or if you feel exhausted all day long. They can offer suggestions for restful sleep patterns and exposure to light that might aid in reestablishing your circadian cycles.

Physical Changes

Your feelings and abilities might be impacted by physical changes. For instance, as you age, your skin may get thinner and more wrinkled. It's also possible for some people to lose more hair than usual. Tissues within the body may begin to contract and stiffen, making it more difficult for them to absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. In many tissues, waste materials accumulate, and lipofuscin, a fatty brown pigment, accumulates.

Additionally, you might realize that your vision is becoming less clear. As they get older, almost everyone goes through this. Focusing on close objects becomes challenging due to the stiffening of the eye's lens. We refer to this as presbyopia.

While the majority of these bodily changes are inevitable, they can be reduced with good nutrition, regular exercise, vitamin supplements, and abstaining from tobacco and heavy alcohol use. How quickly these changes happen and how much of an influence they have on your body will also depend on the lifestyle decisions you make.

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