A study (ID# 0305) being presented as a poster presentation this morning at SLEEP 2008 reinforces the importance of normal sleep for the healthy aging of women.
The study involved 2,226 women who were 60 years of age or older. Nearly 21 percent of the women were determined to be “successful agers.” Measures of successful aging included independent living, active engagement with life, life satisfaction and well-being, freedom from disability and the absence of physical disease.
Women who reported less sleep disturbance on an insomnia rating scale were more likely to be successful agers. Successful aging was best predicted by less daytime napping and fewer complaints of sleep maintenance insomnia (i.e., when awakenings occur during the night).
An increased severity of sleep disturbance predicted lower self-ratings of “successful aging” and a greater difference between perceived and actual age.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, women tend to describe sleep problems using different terms than men. Women may be less likely to say that they feel sleepy during the day. Instead women often describe feeling tired, unrested or fatigued. They also may report an overall lack of energy or vitality.
The SLEEP 2008 abstract book is available online at http://www.journalsleep.org/PDF/AbstractBook2008.pdf.