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Sleep Helps Aging Baby Boomers Stay Healthy

Sleep Helps Aging Baby Boomers Stay Healthy

(NewsUSA)- As baby boomers begin turning 60 in 2006, getting a good night's sleep will be critical to maintaining a productive and healthy life.
As people age, sleep deprivation becomes more of a problem, affecting a person's physical health, emotional well-being, mental ability and job performance.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, one reason is because it takes older people longer to fall asleep. One study of older adults found that 13 percent of men and 36 percent of women took more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.
"Aging doesn't mean that you automatically sleep less or more poorly. As people get older they still need seven to eight hours of sleep each night," said Dr. Lawrence Epstein, president of AASM.
Sleep disorders also affect the economy, adding an estimated $16 billion to the national health care bill, according to the National Institutes of Health.
For older adults, trouble sleeping can stem from simple causes, such as consuming too much caffeine or exercising late in the day, to chronic illnesses that interfere with sleep, to the overuse of prescription drugs.
AASM offers these guidelines to help baby boomers improve their sleep and stay on top at work:
* Stay active. Studies suggest exercise can be helpful in regulating sleep. But avoid exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
* Reduce intake of beverages containing caffeine or alcohol, especially before bedtime. Caffeine and alcohol disturb sleep.
* Consider naps. Practitioners used to discourage napping because they believed it disturbed nighttime sleep. However, naps no longer than 30 minutes can be helpful to ensuring a restful night.
* Consult your doctor. Review your diagnosed illnesses and prescribed medications with your doctor to ensure these conditions are not disturbing sleep.
* Begin rituals that help you relax each night before bed, such as taking a warm bath, eating a light snack or reading.
* Keep a regular schedule for meals, medications and other activities to help keep your body clock running smoothly.
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