From UC Berkeley (June 4, 2020):
“We’ve discovered that fragmented sleep is associated with a unique pathway — chronic circulating inflammation throughout the blood stream — which, in turn, is linked to higher amounts of plaques in coronary arteries,” said study senior author Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience.
Disrupted nightly sleep and clogged arteries tend to sneak up on us as we age. And while both disorders may seem unrelated, a new UC Berkeley study helps explain why they are, in fact, pathologically intertwined.
Some tips to improve sleep quality
- Maintain a regular sleep routine, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
- As part of a nightly wind-down routine, avoid viewing computer, smartphone and TV screens in the last hour before bedtime, and keep phones and other digital devices out of the bedroom.
- Engage in some form of physical exercise during the day.
- Get exposure to natural daylight, especially in the first half of the day.
- Avoid stimulants, like caffeine, and sedatives, like alcohol, later in the day.
UC Berkeley sleep scientists have begun to reveal what it is about fragmented nightly sleep that leads to the fatty arterial plaque buildup known as atherosclerosis that can result in fatal heart disease.
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“How much sleep do we need”, and “Sleep Hygine” were past topics on this site, and my own sleep fragmentation was mentioned. This study correlates sleep fragmentation in the elderly with increased blood vessel disease compared to elderly people who have no interruptions in their sleep.
The elderly have several obstacles to a good, full night’s sleep, although a fair number of my friends claim the blessings of sleeping soundly. As we get older, we lose the deepest sleep we enjoyed as children, and there is some loss of REM sleep as well. The elderly sleep more lightly.
Diseases begin to accumulate as we get older, and These DISORDERS and their TREATMENT can disrupt sleep. I mentioned My BPH with it’s blockage of flow, leading to incomplete emptying of my bladder. This led to FREQUENT URINATION and frequent arousal at night.
With aging, the tissues in the throat become more flabby, and if you SLEEP on your BACK, your inhalation may be blocked. This may result in OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA, where your breathing and sleep are interrupted repeatedly. The associated SNORING may interrupt the sleep of your partner, or even the sleep of those in the next room.
GERD, where you choke on regurgitated stomach contents, is more common in the elderly.
Chronic Heart, lung and Kidney disease can interfere with sleep.
SLEEP DEPRIVATION leads to a variety of problems, such as the inflammation and Arterial blockage highlighted in the above article.
Sleep is intimately connected with DIET and EXERCISE. As one of the PILLARS of HEALTH, It s well worth discussing with your Doctor and following her instructions.