We know that diet and exercise are important factors in the aging process; however, sleep is often overlooked as an essential component to longevity. Getting sufficient quality sleep is another critical lifestyle factor to improve health. Decades of research have shown that those who sleep in between 7 and 8 hours live the longest. Insufficient sleep increases the risk of disorders, including cognitive decline, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression. In general, we don’t want to get too little or too much sleep.
Why Does Sleep Matter So Much?
Evidence suggests that poor quality sleep contributes to the inflammatory process, which is attributed to a majority of chronic disease.
Obesity, diabetes, hypertension and even some forms of cancer are associated with inflammation in the body. Martica Hall, PhD, and colleagues found that older adults who had less than six hours or more than eight hours of sleep per night showed certain inflammatory markers. These biological identifiers were associated with an increase in mortality risk. Thus, sleep duration influences our mortality.
As we age, achieving sufficient quality sleep is not always easy. Many older individuals take medications that can impact sleep or have pains that wake them up easily. Furthermore, our sleep patterns change as we get older. We tend to get less deep sleep, which is necessary for certain cognitive processes and metabolic regulation. Establishing good sleep earlier in life is important so that your body is better able to adjust to issues that impact sleep in your golden years.
Are You Struggling with Sleep Issues?
A significant number of Americans struggle with sleep issues, such as insomnia. If you have one of the following concerns, you might have a sleep disorder:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Tired throughout the day
- Having trouble focusing due to sleepiness
- Waking up throughout the night
- Having trouble falling sleep
- Your partner is complaining about snoring
The good news is that there are effective treatments for sleep issues. Dr. Mazzei, Health Psychologist in Chandler, specializes in treating sleep problems, including insomnia treatment. She relies on evidence based psychological therapies to help individuals improve their sleep. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective therapies for insomnia. Additionally, sleep hygiene, hypnosis, mindfulness training, biofeedback and neurofeedback are other helpful ways to improve sleep. If necessary, she will also refer you to another healthcare provider to provide adjunct therapy for medical issues, such as sleep apnea. Dr. Mazzei works with individuals who are looking for non-pharmacological treatments to improve their sleep and quality of life.