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Deep sleep may act as fountain of youth in old age


The more people age, the more sleepless nights they have. Does this mean they need less sleep as they age? No, say researchers at UC Berkley. In fact, this lack of sleep shortens peoples' lives by increasing their chance of Alzheimer's, heart disease, strokes, obesity, and diabetes.

Key Takeaways

  • Lack of sleep can increase the chance of almost all major diseases that shorten the lives of the older population.
  • Plus, lack of sleep can cause mental fogginess that people often attribute to age instead.
  • The lack of sleep can start as early as middle age, paving the way for the mental and physical diseases that end up killing us later in life.
  • Although sleeping pills are often the immediate reaction to sleep, researchers emphasize that sleeping pills do not give the same restorative sleep needed by the brain and body.
  • Researchers are exploring non-drug alternatives to sleeping pills that will provide the sleep the body and mind need.

“Sleeping pills sedate the brain, rather than help it sleep naturally. We must find better treatments for restoring healthy sleep in older adults, and that is now one of our dedicated research missions.”