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Johns Hopkins Bayview News - Sleeping Wiser with Age

Summer 2013

Sleeping Wiser with Age

By: Jessica McQuay
Date: June 3, 2013

Older couple comforting each other and sleeping

When we think wellness, we often think diet and exercise. However, quality sleep also plays a fundamental role in both mental and physical health. “Many things can compete with sleep time,” says David Neubauer, M.D., sleep medicine specialist at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Center. “But, in general, we need to make sleep a higher priority in our lives. When we don’t get enough sleep, we’re not only vulnerable to immediate problems the next day, but worsening other chronic problems we may have.”

Older individuals are particularly vulnerable, as a lot of factors that can contribute to loss of sleep become more common as we age. Increasing medical or psychological conditions, as well as other health issues requiring medications, may cause side effects that interfere with sleep. Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea also are increasingly common in aging adults.

“Large-scale medical studies have shown that healthy aging goes along with healthy sleep,” says Dr. Neubauer. “We should all be getting at least eight hours of sleep each night.”

If you’re having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, don’t brush it off. Talk to your doctor. Making a few simple behavioral changes or treating your sleep disorder can really improve the quality of your sleep, and the quality of your wakeful hours, too.

To schedule an appointment at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Center, call 410-550-0571.