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How Can Sleep Patterns Affect Elderly Care


Most of us will have had the unfortunate experience of not being able to get to sleep, or waking up in the middle of the night and struggling to drop off again. However, new research has shown that if this happens regularly as you get older, you may find yourself in need of a good elderly care home.

According to Adam Spira who is an assistant professor at Bloomberg schools department sleep disturbances are quite common in older people, and in fact in older women it has been shown that more fragmented sleep brings with it a greater risk of being placed in a care home.

Researchers discovered that, compared to women with the least fragmented sleep, those who spent the most time awake after first falling asleep were much more likely to require a care home. Amongst both men and women with the lowest sleep efficiency, i.e. those who spent the least amount of their time in bed actually sleeping, it was found that they were about 3 times more likely to be placed in a care home.

There have been many different studies on sleep over the years. All of the experts tend to agree that adults require between seven and nine hours sleep per night. Why is that sleep so important? The main reason adults require sleep is to rest the brain. This was proven in 1966 by a 17 year old who stayed awake for charity for an incredible 11 days. The effects on Randy Gardner were visible after just four days. Randy began to hallucinate.

The three main parts of the brain are the cortex, the mid brain and the hind brain. Both the hind and the mid brain work all of the time controlling all the functions that we need to live like breathing and heart rate etc. The cortex controls thinking, speech, memory and perception. The cortex needs time off and this occurs when we sleep. During the end of Randy's charity fundraising event he could barely talk to people and struggled to understand events happening around him. However he liked to play pinball to keep him awake and his ability to play pinball never really changed.

People who get a good quality healthy night's sleep often live a better life and are less likely to suffer from illness. They are also more likely to be able to receive care in their own home ( domiciliary care ) or live in a retirement village rather than needing to live in a care home.

Source: and for the awesome photo :)
Annoying but necessary - I'm not a Healthcare Professional so please check with your Healthcare Professional before changing anything concerning your well being.

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