New research shows that a lack of sleep is a growing health problem around the world, and not just in developed countries.
It was found that Bangladesh, South Africa and Vietnam have extremely high levels of sleep problems. On the other hand, India and Indonesia reported relatively low levels of sleep problems.
Sleeplessness has been linked to such chronic illnesses as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Sleep deprivation may impair physiological functions, for example, appetite or neuro-regenerative responses, and the immune system, which may actually explain the association of sleep with occurrence of many chronic diseases.
On the other hand, some people can actually sleep too much, such as the elderly, making them more prone to disease, weight gain and risk of heart problems.
Sleep is a key player in age-related health concerns, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Sleep Apnea. Helping your loved one find a healthy rest balance can help.
People with Parkinson’s disease performed markedly better on a test of working memory after a night’s sleep, and sleep disorders can interfere with that benefit, researcher has shown.
The findings underline the importance of addressing sleep disorders in the care of patients with Parkinson’s, and indicate that working memory capacity in patients with Parkinson’s potentially can be improved with training.
Alzheimer’s may reverse a person’s sleep-wake cycle, causing daytime drowsiness and nighttime restlessness. These sleep disturbances often increase as Alzheimer’s progresses. Eventually, round-the-clock naps might replace deep, restorative nighttime sleep. The Mayo Clinic recommends how to a promote good night’s sleep.
Sleep apnea, the disruption of sleep caused by obstruction of the airway, interferes with sleep’s effects on memory. As many as one in three elderly men have at least a mild case of sleep apnea. 300 elderly women who were mentally and physically fit, with an average age of 82, led Kristine Yaffe, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California-San Francisco, to find that one in three women had sleep apnea. The women with sleep apnea were 85% more likely to show the first signs of memory loss.
[Photo Credit: Daniel Morris, Flickr]