(HorizonPost.com) – As humans grow older, some seem largely unaffected by their years and others who feel older than their chronological ages. The question is: Why? A new study led by psychologist Dr. Serena Sabatini may have some answers. The University of Exeter research found if people feel older than they actually are when waking up in the morning, they likely don’t sleep well. In addition, the study alleges one’s feelings about aging will be more negative if one doesn’t get enough rest.
Diving Into the Study
The study of over 4,400 people started as an offshoot of the PROTECT study conducted by the University of Exeter and Kings College London to learn more about the cognitive health of aging individuals. Many people commented on their sleep habits. While questioning the participants, the study group focused on how the amount of rest a person gets relates to thoughts and feelings about aging. The groups asked the participants about their memories, motivation, energy, activity and independence. When researchers compared their answers to the amount of sleep the people reported getting per night, they found an interesting connection.
The data showed those who gave themselves the worst ratings for sleep felt older than those who reported they slept well.
Affect on Overall Health
Unfortunately, lack of sleep doesn’t just affect people’s outlook on aging and how they feel; it can also harm their mental and physical health. During each stage of sleep, the human body goes through a process essential for the body’s proper function. In fact, a good night’s sleep impacts a person’s growth, memory, and digestion.
Professor at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, Cristiano Guarana, talked about how poor sleep habits can make thinking a struggle. She explained sleep deprivation lessens connections in the brain “responsible for controlling” impulses and information, leading to poor choices, negative emotions, and uncharacteristic behavior.
Assistant professor at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Dr. Stephanie Griggs, encourages those who have trouble sleeping to find ways to improve their sleep. She said it’s important to keep a regular schedule by going to bed and waking up around the same time every day and avoiding screen time to keep melatonin levels at their peak. As hard as it may be, Griggs believes people should avoid naps during the day and keep bedrooms dark when it’s time for bed. Guarana stresses the importance sleeping in a cool environment.
By avoiding interruptions during sleep time and creating an optimal resting area, people of all ages give themselves the best chance to function at their peak level.
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